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Southwest Asia > Iraq

Fireworks explode over revelers during the Newroz festival in Erbil or Hawler for the Kurds...Newroz, celebrated across the world on the vernal equinox, is the official beginning of the Kurdish calendar and the first day of spring. Kurds celebrate Newroz on March 20th and 21st by lighting fires and performing traditional dances. Fireworks explode over revelers during the Newroz festival...Newroz, celebrated across the world on the vernal equinox, is the official beginning of the Kurdish calendar and the first day of spring.

An official Kurdish announcement in Erbil explained; “Newroz is more than just a holiday; it is a symbol of freedom, liberty, hope and optimism for the Kurdish people. Newroz represents our freedom from tyranny. Today, in Kurdistan the people enjoy security and stability combined with unprecedented prosperity and economic growth.” Guests joined the Kurdish President in lighting the Newroz fire to mark the beginning of the three day national holiday for the Kurdish New Year of 2712. Other festivities included live musical performances by Kurdish singers as well as dances and a firework display to end the celebration.

Observed in many countries throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, Newroz holds a particularly significant meaning for the Kurdish people as it commemorates the legendary struggle of the Kurdish blacksmith Kawa against the tyrannical king Zuhak. According to the myth, the hero defeated the evil king on the Eve of Newroz and lit a fire on the hilltop to announce his victory.

Kurds, in all parts of the world, have celebrated Newroz for over 2,500 years. Newroz, which literally means “new day”, falls on the spring equinox, thus is also a celebration representing new beginnings, hope, and unity. It is considered the most important celebration of the entire year.

International attendees included representatives of the following countries and international organizations: Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, the Palestinian Authority, Romania, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, US, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General.

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