Tatar in Poland

Tatar
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Shamilini / Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Tatar
Country: Poland
10/40 Window: No
Population: 500
World Population: 6,364,200
Primary Language: Polish
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ural-Siberian
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The ancestors of the Tatars were a nomadic people living in northeastern Mongolia near Lake Baikal starting in the 5th century CE. Some of the Tatars and other Turkic peoples became part of Genghis Khan's conquering armies in the early 13th century, leading to a fusion of Mongol and Turkic peoples. These invaders of Russia and Hungary became known to Europeans as "Tatars" meaning "archer." After Genghis Khan's power eroded, Tatars were associated with the western half of the remaining Mongol domain and known as the Golden Horde. The Tatars have had a strong civilization since the tenth century. Although most of them live around the Volga region, others inhabit Azerbaijan, Armenia, Byelorussia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Central Asian republics like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. A small number live in Poland where they have been settled since the 14th century. At that time, Vytautas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, offered them a place to stay because of their military prowess in fighting the Teutonic Knights. These Tatars were welcomed in both Lithuania and Poland. They were compensated for their military service to Poland with knighthoods and land. They settled near the Belarus border. These Tatars were called Lipka Tatars or Polish Tatars.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Tatars in Poland have lived in that country for 600 years, and they are mostly integrated into Polish society. They speak Polish as their heart language. They identify with Polish history and military mythology.
There are two places where they still celebrate Tatar culture, Bohoniki and Kruszyniany. There are few if any people who actually live in these locations, but that are where Tatars come together for their Muslim traditions of Qurban and Ramazan Bayrami.
The Tatars have similar dishes to the Poles, but they have their own variations of them. They eat similar desserts and dumplings, only with a couple of different ingredients. A good example of this is the potato cake. The Tatars keep their special ingredients secret, but it does involve blending the potato batter with meat.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most are Hanafite, one of the four schools of Sunni Islam. The Tatars in Poland are still Muslim, but they have adopted certain Roman Catholic practices from the Polish majority such as having a Christmas tree during the Christmas season. The headstones on their graves are more like those of the Catholic Poles, but the body always faces Mecca. Instead of going on a pilgrimage to Mecca like other Muslims, the Polish Tatars go on a pilgrimage to the graves of Muslim saints. Classical Arabic isn't as important to them as it is to other Muslim peoples, though they are starting to embrace the language of the Koran.

What Are Their Needs?

Christian laborers are needed to live and work among the Tatars. The Tatars are an unreached people group wherever they live.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide an abundant grain harvest among the Tatar that will demonstrate His power and goodness.
Pray for Holy Spirit-driven workers to go to the Tatar people and begin a church planting movement.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Tatars to the empty tomb.
Pray for a powerful Tatar church where people place their hope and identity in Christ alone.

Text Source:   Joshua Project