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The Tradition of Telling Mani Mountain Villages in Bursa  



Mani(s) are one of the most popular poetic forms of folk literature. They are written in syllabic meter of seven units, rhymed as “aaxa” and consist of a singular verse. They carry the cultural, social an even sometimes political features of the area which they were sung. Thus, they bridge the generations. They owed their popularity to the virtue that they are short and rhymed, so that they can be memorised without much effort and illiterate people can express their feelings and thoughts. The tradition of telling mani is a living tradition that is refined through the ages. The villages of Bursa are among that places that in which the mani tradition is still alive. The mountain villages of Bursa, their population largely consisted of Manav(s) and Yoruk(s) are located far from the city center, thus they could preserve their distinct oral tradition. Many traditions are still alive and prospering in these places; mani is one of these traditions. In this study, we collected the mani(s) from oral and written sources in the villages of Akcapınar, Belenoren, Çoreler, Duvenli, Dagguney, Haydar, Kemaliye, Mazlumlar, Mentese, Pınarcık, Sırıl and Sorgun. Then, examined them according to their characteristics of production and transmission, their structure (meter and rhyme) and their content. Mani(s) are vocalized in many different occasions such as military enlistments, sira nights, weddings (during the various phases of traditional wedding ceremonies, circumcision feast, hidrellez, nawruz, imece gatherings, Ramadan nights, traditional village plays. In the mountain villages of Bursa, mani(s) are usually sung in henna nights, weddings and during the holy month of Ramadan. This tradition is kept alive by women. Women entertain themselves by singing mani(s). They are mostly sung without musical instruments but sometimes primitives instruments, such as kitchen accessories or hand-claps are used to generate a rhythmic sound. Among men, Ramadan month is the only time in which mani(s) are sung. Drummers sung mani(s) in order to wake people up for the sahur or receiving tip-money toward the end of the month. The majority of the mani(s) of the mountain villages of Bursa share common structural features. They are mostly in syllabic meter of seven units and have the rhythmic scheme of “aaxa” however, some mani(s) have more than seven syllables. Many of the mani(s) that are examined in this study have rich or full rhyme. There are also assonants, bronze rhymes opunned rhymes or even mani(s) devoid of rhyme. Most of the mani(s) have repeated words. These mani(s) are divided into 22 topics according to their themes. Romance is the most popular theme; it is followed by homesickness. All mani(s) carry the traces of thought system, longings, troubles, likings and traditions of their culture. In total, 346 mani(s) from Bursa mountain villages are studied. They are graphically grouped by the number of their syllables and rhythmic schemes. The percentages are also given. 189 of the mani(s) have seven syllables, 44 of them have eight syllables and 113 of them use irregular meter. Most of the irregular mani(s) are those that are sung during the holy month of Ramadan. The reason is that drummers likely use different names in their mani(s) in order to receive tip money from different people so a line is always changing. Keywords: Mani, The tradition of telling mani, Bursa,