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Jamshed Navroz celebrations are marked as a family holiday in Iraqi Kurdistan. Read to know about Kurdish Nowruz traditions and customs.

Jamshed Navroz in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Zoroastrian community celebrates its New Year as Jamshed Navroz or Nowruz. It is commemorated with great fun and fervor across the world where Zoroastrians inhabit. Furthermore, Nowruz is one of the three most significant festivals celebrated by this community. This festival is celebrated as Newroz by the Kurds. While the festival falls on the 21st of March, the Kurdish people observe this occasion from the 18th to the 24th of March. Navroz serves as the major identity for most of the Kurds, especially those residing in Turkey and Syria. The onset of the spring season is welcomed with open arms and different rituals and customs. Scroll through the lines below to know more about Kurdish celebrations and traditions.

Nowruz Celebrations In Iraqi Kurdistan

The Kurdish people consider Newroz as the single most important holiday of the year. After all, it is the major identification for majority of Kurds, particularly in Turkey and Syria. Until 2000, the Kurdish population in Turkey was not allowed to celebrate this festival. However, after imposing international pressure on the Turkish government, the ban was lifted and the festival was declared a Turkish spring holiday. Also, the word Navroz was renamed as Nevruz in Turkish. People wear new clothes and gather at fairgrounds to welcome the spring season. Women don colored dresses and spangled head scarves while young men wave flags in colors of green, yellow and red symbolizing the Kurdish people.

Fires are lit and people dance around it as part of the celebrations. The Kurdish people exchange greetings by wishing ‘Newroz pîroz be!’ which means Holy Newroz or Happy Newroz!. Another greeting that is commonly used is ‘Bijî Newroz!’ translating to Long Live Newroz!. The festival marked as a time for entertainment, such as games, dancing, family gatherings, preparation of special dishes and reciting of poetry. In other Kurdish populated regions in the Middle East like Iraq and Syria, similar celebrations can be seen being carried out. The Syrians dress up in their national dress to celebrate the New Year.

People light bonfires and dance to the traditional music. These bonfires symbolize the passing of the dark season, winter, and the arrival of the season of light, spring. The Iranian people consider Nowruz to be the most important festival in the entire year. While in Kurdistan, the tradition of jumping over the fire takes place on the New Year’s Eve, mainly on the last Tuesday of the year. This tradition is known as Chuwarshama Kulla. The Kurds in Australia celebrate Newroz not only as the beginning of the new year but also as the Kurdish National Day. The Kurds in Finland demonstrate support for the Kurdish cause by celebrating this festival. In London too, the festival is celebrated on a large scale.