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What’s Hüma?

 Hümabird, mostly named as paradise flower bird, is the legendary bird flying constantly very high at high altitudes without resting and never touching the ground-some resources claim that it has no legs.

Since it is believed to bring happiness to the one on whose head it lands, it is also called windfall or godsend as well.

The term ‘Hümayun (imperial)’ from the Ottoman history is thought to be related with the name ‘Umay (Humay)’. Traces of ancient mythological belief on the fact that dominance is a gift and comes from the skies are saved within the idle rumours about Hümabird, that is godsend. According to a very common belief, when the shadow of ‘Hümabird’ known as ‘Godsend’ or ‘Şahlık’ fell onto a person’s head, it was considered as a sign for that person saying that he would be a fortunate, coroneted and dominant person. This belief still survives in Azerbaijan tales and legends in the way that ‘The godsend flies and lands on ones’s shoulder causing him to be chosen as the sultan’. Its becoming a symbol of good fortune and happiness is a similar incident.

Hümabird is one of the most  frequently used motives in Ottoman, Persian and Urdu literature. Amongst these, Hüma and Hümayun masnavis, and allegorical works based on the intercourse between birds take the lead. This often appears in Risaletü’t-Tayr by Gazali written in the 12th century, in Mantık-ut-Tayr written commensaly by Feridüddin-i Attar and in Lisanü’t-Tayr indited and replied in kind by Ali Şir Nevai Attar. Hüma is also a symbol of non-access altitudes in Turkish Folk Literature for it lives in heaven, flies very high, travels between fates and zodiac signs above septuple skies and even reaches up to god. Due to their certain common features, Hüma is confused by Phoenix, Garuda, Simurg and Kaknüs, and is the most aforementioned one among mythological birds in Ottoman poetry due to its specialties. Its frequency of occurence shows a steady increase starting from the 16th century.

A couplet from Baki’s poem:

‘Zülf-i siyahı saye-i perr-i Hüma imiş

İklim-i hüsne anun içün padişa imiş’.

‘But dark lovelocks of that beloved were actually the luck bringing shadow of the wing of Hümabird,

That’s why she was the sultan of the land of beauty.’

Here, the beloved one whose dark lovelocks are compared with the shadow of Hüma is named as the sultan of the land of beauty owing to her pulchritude and this indicates the belief in which that person is considered as the sultan since the shadow of Hüma falls on her.

Hümabird is also used in Uzbekistan coat of arms and Iran Airways.

Likewise, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han’s mother’s name was Hüma Hatun.