Monday, March 26, 2012

Nawroz: Happy Spring and Happy New Year-2712

Last week Kurdish people joined together with Persian people (and many others around the world ) to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year- Nawroz. A friend I was visiting explained it to me. " There are 4  things you need to know about Nawroz and why it is so important. 1. It is the first day of Spring, 2. It is the first day of the New Year in the Iranian calendar, which is 2712 here. 3. It is a very ancient festival from the days of Zoroastrianism, a very ancient religion. 4. It is the time for Kurds to celebrate being Kurdish. Immediately after he told me this the local news station announced that Canadian Primeminister had spoken Kurdish and wished all those celebrating a Happy Nawroz!!


The celebration for Kurds has several facets: It is a time to dress up in traditional Kurdish clothes. Often the women get a brand new Kurdish dress for the celebration. It is a time to light fires in formal displays in the middle of towns and cities.  And it is a time for families to gather and go out of the towns and cities to have picnics. These feasts are most often made of dolma (rice and meat wrapped in vegetables), chicken breast skewered and roasted over a charcoal fire, bread and raw vegetables. Of course, the tea pot comes along too to provide many cups of sugary tea.

I was invited to join long time friends of CPT Iraqi Kurdistan who live in a smaller city about 1 1/2 hours by bus away. I stayed for 3 days and participated in all the busy preperation.
Nishtiman books bread for the next day so no one will have to stand in line early in the morning.

She bought the greens to eat at the picnic, green onions, parsley and other ones too.

Across the road from the bread baker these young men lit a simple hot air balloon.

Khalid and Nishtiman
Making tea at the picnic

Nishtiman with Khalid's aunt who was visiting from Iran.

The people from Raniya are fortunate to have an area that has been reforested with pine trees to have their picnics. Many families created simple swings from the tree branches.

All over the world, when there is meat and fire involved, the men do the cooking.

Lunch time with dolma and vegetables and chicken and bread.

Nishtiman's sisters lent me a Kurdish dress for the day. Lukasz wore our friend Ramyar's Kurdish suit and a traditional head covering.

A proud grandmother with her two month old grandson resting in the small tent.
Most of Nistiman's family

Even the cows came to the picnic. I don't think they ate the chicken though.

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