Who celebrates Nowruz?

Kurds in Iraq, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Germany, and Iran celebrate Newroz (alternatively pronounced Nowruz in Iran, as phonetic spelling varies) as their New Year’s Day on March 20th, the first day of Spring. Newroz originated in Persia in religious traditions of Zoroastrianism.


Kurdish New Year’s


Nowruz is the Kurdish celebration of the Persian new year holiday “Nowruz.” Kurdish Nowruz coincides with the Spring Equinox, and is a festival celebrating the beginning of spring.  Nowruz is considered to be the most important festival in the Kurdish culture. Typically the festival is celebrated in the days running up to the Spring Equinox, and this year will be celebrated from March 21th to April 1st.


During Newroz, there are special dishes, fireworks, dancing, singing, and poetry recitations. Spring flowers (such as tulips, hyacinths, and pussy willows) are cut, new clothes are worn, and pottery is smashed for good luck. Families spend the day in the country, enjoying nature and the fresh growth of spring.

The celebration of Nowruz has its local peculiarities in different regions of Kurdistan. On the eve of Nowruz, in southern and eastern Kurdistan, bonfires are lit. These fires symbolize the passing of the dark season, winter, and the arrival of spring, the season of light. During the thirteen days after Newroz, families visit each other and visit the graves of dead relatives. Everyone tries to resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings that may be carried from the year before.


Even though most Kurds are no longer nomads, they continue to celebrate important dates associated with that way of life. These include lambing time, celebration before moving the herds to summer pastures, shearing time, and the time of return to the village in the fall. Islamic holidays vary in importance among individual Kurds.


To all those who celebrate Nowruz may the joy of this festival full your life with happiness, bring you peace and pride. Stay safe stay healthy.

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