Lurs (also Lors, Lurish: لور, Persian:لُر) are
an Iranian people living mainly in western and south-western Iran. Their
population is estimated at around five million. They occupy Lorestan, Kohgiluyeh
and Boyer-Ahmad, Khuzestan and Fars (especially Lamerd, Mamasani and Rostam),
Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Hamadan, Ilam and Isfahan provinces. The Lur
people mostly speak the Lurish language (sometimes called "Luri"), a
Southwestern Iranian language related to Persian and Kurdish. A large crowd of
Lurs is located in Eastern parts of Iraq. In Iraq, as Feyli Lurs and sometimes
Feyli Kurds they are mainly located in Diyala province (Khanaqin, Mendeli and
Muqdadiyah cities) and Baghdad. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the
Lurish language is the closest living language to Archaic and Middle
Persian. According to the linguist Don Still, Lori-Bakhtiari like Persian is
derived directly from Old Persian. Michael M. Gunter states that Lurs people
are closely related to the Kurds but that they "apparently began to be
distinguished from the Kurds 1,000 years ago."
Lurs are the demographic majority of the provinces of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Ilam, Lorestan and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. Half of Khuzestan's population is Lurs and 30% of Bushehr's population is Lurs.
Richard N. Frye wrote that "the Lurs and their dialects are closely related to the Persians of Fars province, and naturally belong to the southwestern branch of the Iranian peoples...".
The Lurish language is divided into two main groups:
The dialect spoken in Luri-i buzurg (Greater Lur) which is closely related to Persian. This dialect is spoken by the inhabitants of Bakhtiari, Kuh-Gilu-Boir Ahmed, in the north and east of Khuzistan, in the Mamasani district of Fars, and in some areas of Bushehr province.
The dialect spoken in Lur-i-Kuchek (Lesser Lor) which is closely related to southern Kurdish, with has some similarities to Persian. This dialect is spoken in Luristan, several districts of Hamadan (Malayer, Nahavand, Towisarkan) and by the inhabitants of south and southwest Ilam and northern part of Khuzestan province.
There is a third group of Luri people who speak Luri-e-Minjaee; they are ethnically part of Lur-e- kuchak but dialectically part of Lur-e-bozorg.
Lurs are a mixture of aboriginal Iranian tribes, originating from Central Asia and the pre-Iranic tribes of western Iran, such as the Kassites (who's homeland appears to have been in what is now Lorestan) and Gutians. Michael M. Gunter states that they are closely related to the Kurds but that they "apparently began to be distinguished from the Kurds 1,000 years ago." He adds that the Sharafnama of Sharaf Khan Bidlisi "mentioned two Lur dynasties among the five Kurdish dynasties that had in the past enjoyed royalty or the highest form of sovereignty or independence." In the Mu'jam Al-Buldan of Yaqut al-Hamawi mention is made of the Lurs as a Kurdish tribe living in the mountains between Khuzestan and Isfahan. The term Kurd according to Richard Frye was used for all Iranian nomads (including the population of Luristan as well as tribes in Kuhistan and Baluchis in Kirman) for all nomads, whether they were linguistically connected to the Kurds or not.
Percentage of Luri population in provinces of Iran (2010 poll)
Considering their NRY variation, the Lurs are distinguished from other Iranian groups by their relatively elevated frequency of Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b (specifically, of subclade R1b1a2a-L23).Together with its other clades, the R1 group comprises the single most common haplogroup among the Lurs. Haplogroup J2a (subclades J2a3a-M47, J2a3b-M67, J2a3h-M530, more specifically) is the second most commonly occurring patrilineage in the Lurs and is associated with the diffusion of agriculturalists from the Neolithic Near East c. 8000-4000 BCE. Another haplogroup reaching a frequency above 10% is that of G2a, with subclade G2a3b accounting for most of this. Also significant is haplogroup, for which the Lurs display the highest frequency in Iran. Lineages Q1b1 and Q1a3 present at 6%, and T at 4%.
The authority of tribal elders remains a strong influence among the nomadic population. It is not as dominant among the settled urban population. As is true in Bakhtiari and Kurdish societies, Lur women have much greater freedom than women in other groups within the region.
The Lur peoples are diverse and individualistic in their religious views and practices. Religious views can differ immensely, even within a family group. While the overwhelming majority of Lurs are Shia Muslims, some practice an ancient Iranian religion known as Yaresan which has roots in Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Manicheism. Traditionally the Lur people outwardly profess Shia Islam, and the religion of some is a mixture of Ahl-e Haqq involving a belief in successive incarnations combined with ancient rites.