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.
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.
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.
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newroz_as_celebrated_by_Kurds
© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.