kurdish villagers dance in preparation for a wedding in ghara kilissa. eastern kurdistan. circa 1950s-1960s.

kurdish weddings involve a lot of folk dancing, often with routines dating back hundreds of years. frequently the main focus of a wedding, the dances signifiy unification of the kurdish community and recognize the bride and groom as a newly married couple.

“Newroz in Cizre, (Northern Kurdistan) 1992”

Every year on March 21st, the Kurdish people celebrate Newroz. In the Kurdish language, Newroz means “New Day”, by which Kurds mean the first day of spring. The Kurdish calendar begins on this day. Newroz, therefore, is the new day, the first day of the New Year. The Kurdish nation has been celebrating Newroz since the time of ancient history.

It is claimed that this tradition dates back to the myth of Kawa the Blacksmith. On March 21st in the year 612 B.C., Kawa killed the Assyrian tyrant Dehak and liberated the Kurds and many other peoples in the Middle East. Dehak was an evil king who represented cruelty, abuse, and enslavement of peoples. People used to pray every day for God to help them to get rid of Dehak.

On Newroz day, Kawa led a popular uprising and surrounded Dehak’s palace. Kawa then rushed passed the king’s guards and grabbed Dehak by the neck. Kawa then struck the evil tyrant on the head with a hammer and dragged him off his throne. With this heroic deed, Kawa set the people free and proclaimed freedom throughout the land.

A huge fire was lit on the mountaintops to send a message: firstly to thank God for helping them having defeated Dehak, and secondly to the people to tell them they were free. This is where the tradition of the Newroz fire originates. Today, Newroz is not just a day for remembering, it is also a day for the protest and resistance against the oppression which the Kurdish people continue to suffer from.

The Kurdish people need a voice in international affairs. Let us light the fire of justice and peace! Now is the time for all people to show their solidarity and support the national struggle for freedom in Kurdistan. This struggle is not just for Kurdistan; it is for all humanity.

Every year on 21st March in all parts, hamlets, villages, towns, cities of Kurdistan as well as by Kurds living in the Diasporas, they gather to show their unity, joy as well as cry out their need for freedom and democracy. The largest gathering is the North-Kurdistani city of Amed (Diyarbakir) where over a million people celebrate Newroz each year.