This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.


The Ohuokhai dance.
Yalli (Kochari, Tenzere), traditional group dances of Nakhchivan
DomainsFolk dance
RegionMiddle East
Inscription history
Inscription2018 (13th session)

Halay[a] is a regional category of folk dance styles in central and southeastern Anatolia. The music accompanying the dance is the zurna and davul.[1] It begins slow and speeds up.[1]

Halay is a traditional dance in Middle East it mostly played during wedding on the zurna, supported by a davul, but in the recent years, electronic instruments have started to replace them. Typically, Halay dancers form a circle or a line, while holding each other with the little finger or shoulder to shoulder or even hand to hand with the last and first player holding a piece of cloth. It is a national dance from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. In Azerbaijani, yal means "row, line of chain"; the dancers stand in one line or two rows and sometimes in several rows.

The Ohuokhai is a simultaneous round dance and song. Dancers form a circle and dance, arm in arm, hand in hand, with the left foot put forward, while making rhythmical, graceful movements with their bodies, legs, feet and arms. A lead singer improvises the lyrics and the other dancers repeat them. This Ohuokhai leader has a special talent not only for singing but also, what is more important, for poetic improvisation. There song leaders compete at the national Yhyakh festival for the best poetic expression, best song and biggest circle.

Halay Region, consists of three sub-sections

Extension and distribution of folk dances in today’s Turkey
  1. Halay in Bozkır (Bozkır Halay): Central Anatolia in the East
  2. Halay in East (Doğu halay): East and Southeast Regions
  3. Çukurova Halay: Çukurova environment

See also


  1. ^ The Turkish word Halay is derived from Kurdish (Kurmanji) "hilayi" or "halayi", meaning "to stand", "jump" and "dance".[2] In Kurdish, it is known as Govend or Dîlan, in Syriac as Ḥeggāʾ (ܚܓܐ), in Azerbaijani as Yallı, in Armenian as šurǰpar (Շուրջպար), and in Greek as Chaláï (Χαλάϊ).


  1. ^ a b Jan Laurens Hartong (2006). Musical Terms Worldwide: A Companion for the Musical Explorer. Semar Publishers Srl. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-88-7778-090-4.
  2. ^ Sevan Nişanyan, Sözlerin Soyağacı: Çağdaş Türkçenin Etimolojik Sözlüğü (the family tree of words: an etymological dictionary of contemporary Turkish), Istanbul, 2007