Syriac-Assyrian community celebrate Akitu Festival in northern Syria




ARA News

Qamishli-Tel Tamir, Syria– The Chaldean Syriac-Assyrian community in Syria celebrated on Tuesday the Akitu Festival, which marks the 1st of April.   

In the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, the Syriac Union Party, the Syriac Cultural Association, the Syriac Women Association and the Syriac Youth Association organized a ceremony for the celebration of Akitu Festival in the western district of the city. In addition to the Syriac-Assyrian components of Qamishli, several Kurdish politicians and prominent figures together with a delegation of the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and representatives of the PYD-led self-rule administration attended the ceremony.

The celebration’s location was decorated with the flags of the Syriac Union Party and its associated organizations. A banner read: “From Newroz to Akitu (in reference to Kurds and Syriacs), towards further coexistence. We condemn the Turkish involvement in the Syrian conflict and the bloodshed of Armenians and Christians in Kasab city”. Other banners were raised by Kurdish parties in different districts of Qamishli city congratulating the Syriac nation for the Akitu Celebration.  

The festival started with speeches of welcome in Kurdish, Arabic and Syriac congratulating all the social components of the region and the Syriacs in particular. The speeches also called for the brotherhood of nations and the coexistence in the region, condemning the attacks carried out by the al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on areas of northeastern Syria and Kobane city (north of Aleppo) and praising the “efforts” of the YPG forces in “maintaining the security of the region”. 

Speaking to ARA News, the member of the Syriac Youth Association, Malik Shamoun, said: “Akitu is the festival of brotherhood of nations and of coexistence. On this occasion, we congratulate our nation and other components of the Syrian society.”

In Tel Temir city, the Assyrian social components organized a ceremony in the city’s church, which included singing and presenting Assyrian traditional dances, while the representative of the Democratic Assyrian Party, Kaldo Nasawa, delivered a speech amid a popular and political attendance of the different social components of the city.

Adna Noya, one of the organizers of Tel Termir’s Akitu ceremony, expressed his regret about the evacuation of Assyrians from the estimated 84 Assyrian villages around Tel Temir city and on the river of Khabur line, resorting it to the threats which the al-Qaeda splinter group of ISIL forms against Assyrians and Kurds, beside the migration of Assyrians to Europe and North America in search for security and better living conditions.

“Our joyful celebrations have been forsaken and most of our churches had been forcibly closed,” Noya said.

Noteworthy, Akitu (in Sumerian “akiti-šununum”, sowing of barley, and in Acadian “rêš-šattim” meaning head of the year) was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia, celebrated by the Acadians, Babylonians, Assyrians and the Chaldean. It starts the 1st of April and continues for 12 days. 

The celebration of this occasion goes back to the First Dynasty of Babylon (Amorite Dynasty), “to the beginning of the second millennium BC, when episodes of life were arranged in a semi-final manner in the lives of the inhabitants of Mesopotamia in religious, economic and social aspects”, according to Assyrian cultural publications. 


Reporting by: Judi Aziz and Dilbirin Shergo

Source: ARA News


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