Newroz, The Kurdish New Year

By | on 17th March 2011 | 5 Comments

Boy Jumping through the fire during Newroz

On the 21st of March the day of the Spring Equinox, the Kurdish community celebrate Newroz, The Kurdish New Year,  the coming of spring, the start of a new year.  Newroz pronounced Nevros means ‘new day’ or ‘new sun’ in Kurdish.

The first Newroz celebrations were recorded as early as 3000BC and the origins go back as far as 5000 years.

Newroz is celebrated throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey.

The festival symbolises the triumph of light over dark and new life and freedom from oppression.

The Legend of Newroz

Kurdish legend tells us that Newroz is the celebration of the deliverance of the Kurds from the tyrant Dehak or Zuhak.

The Legend tells us that in Mesopotamia there was a cruel and evil commander called Dehak who was near to death and was told by his doctor that if he ate a young boys brain everyday he would live.

Children dressed for Newroz

Children Dressed up For NewrozDehak began to kill a young boy every day and eat his brain.  Dehak lived.  Dehak’s cruel killing of young boys continued until one day, there was a Kurdish ironwork named Kawa who had a young son and he decided he would not let his son be killed by the hands of Dehak.

Kawa told the towns people he would take his son to Dehak and that he Kawa would kill Dehak and save his son.  If he succeeds he would light a fire on the mountainside to let the people know he had succeeded and if they saw no fire they new that both he Kawa and his son would be dead.

Kawa took his soon to Dehak’s house.  Dehak was pleased he would live another day.  But Kawa upon seeing Dehak took his sledgehammer and hit Dehak upon his head, he kept hitting Dehak and this caused sparks to set fire to the house and the surrounding area.

Dehak was dead and Kawa had survived and saved his son.  The town’s people saw the fire and began to celebrate their freedom from Dehak’s tyranny.

The Celebrations

Today the Kurdish people light fires and jump over the fires in celebration, they also dress up in bright coloured clothes, make special foods, dance and sing to celebrate the coming of spring and the hope of freedom.

Kurdish Flag

The Kurdish Flag

In modern times the Kurdish people want independence and their own country called Kurdistan and the Newroz celebrations also take on the meaning of the hope for independence.  The Kurdish people wish for the Kurdish language to be spoken, their history and culture to be taught in schools.

They would also like Newroz to be recognised as a national holiday in Turkey.  Progress is being made slowly in Turkey TRT Television now run a Kurdish TV station, some municipalities have signs in both Turkish and Kurdish and the Kurdish history and culture can be learned in a few universities, however it is still a great cause of political unrest between the Turkish government and the Kurdish community.

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to the East of Turkey on the 21st of March you will have the pleasure of joining in this wonderful celebration of culture and people.

For more on Newroz, the Kurdish New Year view this wikipedi

© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to “Newroz, The Kurdish New Year”

  1. 27th March 2011

    Hasan Reply

    newroz is an Iranian word, not Kurdish, and it`s an Iranian celebration. It wasn`t until the 16th century that the Iranians who migrated to Anatolia were called Kurds, so claiming that newroz is a 5000 years old Kurdish tradition is plain bs. It seems like you read too much of Kurdish propaganda which is not surprising when we consider the love for Kurds among christians for certain reasons such as their help in Iraq for the invaders.

  2. 27th March 2011

    Hasan Reply

    Nowrūz (Persian: نوروز, IPA: [nouˈɾuːz], “New Day”, originally “New Light”) is the name of the New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations.[2] Nowruz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year.

    Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples

  3. 29th March 2011

    Kerry Arslan Reply

    Thank you Hasan.

  4. 29th March 2011

    Kerry Arslan Reply

    Thank you Hasan for your insight into the History of Newroz. I wrote my article based purely from the history and culture of my family which I have been taught by them. I am sorry that you see the Kurdish as using it as propaganda. I wrote the facts historical facts from the Turkish/Kurdish point of view and it is great to hear from your own. Throughout life many cultures and people have traveled across the world taking their traditions with them and this is what makes the world so diverse and interesting. We can never really know always where one culture starts and where one ends.

  5. 22nd March 2014

    Murat Reply

    Hasan That is not true. What you saying is a bit bull***t
    The connection of the Iranians and the Kurds start during the med empire which was grandson of med empire didn’t like his grandfather rules and run to Iran and he was in charge of the Iran army and he then went to war with his grandfather then he came the Iranian empire ruler and that is the reason why people like yourself
    I’m not surprised Turkish fachist saying no Kurds they saying they are all Turkish, Syrian and Iraq saying no Kurds they are Arabs, Iranians are saying they are not Kurds they are Iranians for Kurdish people.
    I’m just wondering the people who came from Asia on the back of donkey and camel they have a history but no Kurdish history…

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