Syrian Kurds- Rojava Kurdistan- celebrate the Kurdish New Year ‘ Newroz’ in Britain   

Kurdish women in their traditional colourful clothes and the Kurdish flag in the background 

By Ronahi Hasan

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 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 to the myth of Kawa the Blacksmith. On March 21st in the year 612 B.C., Kawa killed the Assyrian tyrant Dehak, who used to ease his impossible sickness, as the folk story tells, by killing one youth every day. Dehak was an evil king who represented cruelty, abuse, and enslavement of people. 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 past 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. Kawa set the people free and proclaimed freedom throughout the land with this heroic deed. The revolution culminated in the killing of the tyrant and liberated the Kurds and many other peoples in the Middle East.

A huge fire was lit on the mountaintops to send a message: firstly, to thank God for helping them have 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 it.

The Kurdish situation today is like their situation back in the days when King Dehak enslaved the ancient Kurds. The army and police in Turkey are no better than Dehak’s thugs. Officials in Iran exploit and enslave the people of the Kurdish regions of Iran just as Dehak’s agents did in the past. Kurds in Iraq suffered too under Saddam’s rule, while the Kurds in Syria they still abused by the Dehak who represents the Syrian regime and the extremist groups in the Syria war. The people in Kurdistan “Land of the Kurds” must be free.

Kurds as well as other people, such as Faris, Balochis, Aziris and Afghans, everywhere celebrate this national occasion. On the day of the festival, bonfires are lit on the peak of mountains and the top of hills. Folk dances are performed in rural areas and urban centres throughout Kurdistan and the neighbouring countries.

Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan, whether in their own country or living as refugees abroad, will celebrate this occasion as the Kurdish refugees in wales celebrated Newroz’s day this week in the Sherman Cymru’s theatre in the Cathays area of Cardiff.

The social gathering was arranged by attending 90 individuals, 15 families with some guests, Kurdish music and dancing performed by women, men, and children in their bright, colourful national costumes. Kurdish food is also offered.

Syrian Kurdish Mr Ali Alamin said: “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.”

So, Newroz means to hold on to the hope of spring and that sunnier timer are on their way after the cold and dark winter. Kurds await the time when their young people will bloom in the sun with new-found confidence, hope and aspirations in the bosom of a free country.

Men and women dance in Kurdish to celebrate Newroz 

Author: ronahihasan

I am a British–Syrian freelance journalist and a documentary filmmaker who graduated with a Journalism Prize from the University of South Wales and with BJTC- accredited journalism degree. I was the Wales Media Awards winner in 2017. I am a well-respected contributor to BBC programmes on issues concerning Syria, the Middle East and religious extremism. I work under a freelance agreement with ITN, and have provided first-hand information and many interesting stories for BBC English, Channel 4 and the other mainstream media channels within the UK. I also work under a freelance agreement with Arabic network Al-Aan TV, which published links to my both documentary films. One is about the 15th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdjk-nQLH2I The second film is about some Syrian refugees who fled Syria seeking sanctuary in Denmark, but the Danish authority strips Syrian refugees of residency permits, claiming it is now safe for them to return to Syria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19viZQUdvXg In addition, I have also written articles analysing the situation in the Middle East for the Western Mail during my time in Cardiff, and for EUobserver online newspaper since I moved to London (just before the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown), I have since republished these on my website, where they can be viewed here: https://ronahihasan.wordpress.com/

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