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Ay Ata (Turkish & Azerbaijani: Ay Ata, Cyrillic: Ай Ата; sometimes Ay Tanrı or Ay Dede,[1] or Turkish: Ay Dede, Turkmen: Aý Däde, Azerbaijani: Ay Dədə) is one of the mythological entities in Turkic mythology and Tengrism. In English, the meanings are: Ay Ata: Father Moon, Ay Dede: Grandfather Moon and Ay Tanrı: The Moon God.

Ay Ata
Abode6th floor in the Sky
Personal information
ConsortGun Ana
ParentsKayra and Yer Tanrı
Gun Ana


In Turkic languagesEdit


According to the mythology, he is a moon god, and he has been living in sixth floor of the sky with Gun Ana (Turkish: Gün Ana), the sun goddess, who he is coupled with. While Gün Ana is symbol of warmness and hotness, Ay Dede is the symbol of cold.

In Turkey, he is well known in modern times, Ay Dede is popular amongst children due to tales being told about him. The mythology is more common amongst Central Asian Turks, such as Altaians and Yakuts, who still have populations who actively practice Tengrism.

Notably, in the Epic of Oghuz Khan, Ay Tanrı also is mentioned as the father of Oghuz Khan, even though that part remains somewhat unclear. It's also notable Oghuz Khan's second son was named Ayhan (Ay Khan, "moon khan").


From ancient times, the Turkic people believed that humans had secret lunar powers (Aisar or Aysar). Female pregnancy lasts about nine lunar months, and women often deliver during a full moon. The three phases of the moon were also symbolic. It was believed that at "Ai Naazy" (new moon) the moon symbolised a growing young child, who is pure and modest. At "Ai Toly" (full moon), the moon personified a mature good-natured mother or father. At "Ai Karty" (old moon) the moon aged, became wise. But at the same time quarrelsome and malicious. Before its death, the moon reigned over a totally dark night. The forces of life and death met during these nights. After the meeting they separated, only to meet again after a defined period. When the old moon died, a new one was born and so on, ad infinitum. The Turkic people trusted the magic influence of the Moon. She was their sole "night lantern". The celebrations of malicious spirits occurred mostly at night. The rituals and trances of witches and demons were always timed according to the phases of the Moon. In Turkish culture At night, illnesses got worse and caused more deaths. To please the Moon God, those born during a full moon were given names as such: Aisylu (Aysulu), Aituly (Aytulu), Ainir (Aynur), Aizirek (Ayzerek) and Ainaz (Aynaz).


Legends of Ay DedeEdit

  • Ay Dede and Orphan Girl
  • Ay Dede and Seven Head-Giant War
  • Ay Dede and Wolves
  • Legends of Children Whose Father is the Moon


  • Türk Mitolojisi, Murat Uraz
  • Bahaeddin Ögel, Türk Mitolojisi (Vol-1, Page 132)

External linksEdit