Iraqi Christians are celebrating their “New Year” in Dohuk this week something that was not allowed when Saddam Hussein was in power.
April 2007. Descendants of Iraq’s ancient Assyrians are enjoying 12 days of parties and parades to celebrate their New Year, a pagan rite that glorifies resurrection and life and dates back millennia.(AFP/File)
Iraqi Christians are holding traditional New Year celebrations in Dohuk, Iraq this year for the first time.
The AFP reported:
Descendants of Iraq’s ancient Assyrians are enjoying 12 days of parties and parades to celebrate their New Year, a pagan rite that glorifies resurrection and life and dates back millennia.
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Flocking to the relative haven of Iraqi Kurdistan rather than the ancient capitals of Nineveh and Babylon, which are awash with violence in modern-day Iraq, Assyrians began the most important event in their calendar on April 1.
Wearing colourful traditional dress, men, women and children parade through the streets and dance, hailing the arrival of spring, budding trees and blossoming flowers in early seasonal warmth before the punishing heat of summer.
“We will celebrate for 12 days as we did in Babylon and Ashur,” said Nissan Beghazi, chairman of the Assyrian Cultural Centre in the city of Dohuk, which is this year a focal point of celebrations for the first time.
Iraqi Assyrian children parade as they celebrate their New Year in the northern city of Dohuk, 03 April 2007. (AFP/File)