Kurdish Newroz: Welcoming a Season of Light

Newroz or Nawroz (Kurdish: نه‌ورۆز/Newroz/Nawroz, also: Gulus Kurdish: گوڵوس) refers to the celebration of the traditional Iranian new year holiday of Newroz in Kurdish society. In Kurdish legend, the holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Kurds from a tyrant, and it is seen as another way of demonstrating support for the Kurdish cause. The celebration coincides with the Northward equinox which falls mainly on 21 March and the festival is held usually between 18 and 24 March.

The festival currently has an important place in the terms of Kurdish identity for the majority of Kurds, mostly in Turkey and Syria. Though celebrations vary, people generally gather together to welcome the coming of spring; people wear coloured clothes and dance together.

Newroz is considered the most important festival in Kurdish culture, and is a time for entertainment such as games, dancing, family gathering, preparation of special foods and the reading of poetry. The celebration of Newroz has its local peculiarities in different regions of Kurdistan. On the eve of Newroz, 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. The 17th century Kurdish poet Ahmad Khani mentions in one of his poems how the people, youth and elderly, leave their houses and gather in countryside to celebrate Newroz.

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