A Pilgrimage to Lalish
C. J. Edmonds
Royal Asiatic Society
My first duty is to express my deep sense of gratitude for an honour as unexpected as it is highly appreciated: unexpected for obvious reasons; appreciated because it has been awarded by this Society, because it is associated with the name of Richard Burton who, ever since my youthful thoughts first tumed towards a career in Asia, has been one of my heroes and whose Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah is stili a never-ending source of instruction and delight, and because, when I look at the list of my predecessors, I feel very proud to find myself in such company.
Although I spent the greater part of my career in an Arab land, any original exploration and research that I have been able to carry out has been on its non-Arab fringes or across the border in Persia. I have to thank your President for his generous interpretation of the word ‘cognate’, and so for allowing me to choose a subject relating to the Kurds and to describe my own pilgrimage, one that involved no danger or hardship, to the Metropolitan Shrine of the Yazidis on the occasion of their great Autumn Festival.
The Yazidis and the problems of their origins ...