Nevroz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the spring equinox and the first day of the Kurdish calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranic people, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
The word ‘Nevroz’ is Kurdish for ‘Nevroz’. The Kurds celebrate this feast between 18th till 21 March. It is one of the few ‘people’s celebrations’ that has survived and predates all the major religious festivals. The holiday is considered by Kurds to be the single most important holiday of every year.
With this festival Kurds gather into the fairgrounds mostly outside the cities to welcome spring. Women wear colored dresses and spangled head scarves and young men wave flags of green, yellow and red, the colors of the Kurdish people. They hold this festival by lighting fire and dancing around it.
Although Nevroz is an ancient celebration among Kurds, repressive states in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq have denied Kurds the right to hold Nevroz celebrations.
According to news reports, despite relative relaxation of state policies regarding celebration of Nevroz in Turkey by Kurds, Turkish police used water cannon, tear gas and baton charges to break up Kurdish demonstrations across the country on Sunday preparing for the New Year.
In Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not allow Nevroz to be celebrated widely by Kurds, Turks, and Persians alike, fearing massive outpouring of people that could threaten the stability of this repressive police state. According to reliable reports, in response to celebrations leading to Nevroz, regime’s repressive forces have massed in major cities across the country especially in the Kurdish areas.
In Iraq where Kurds are considerably free and control their areas, Nevroz celebrations are held widely. The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran based in Iraqi Kurdistan held a New Year celebration on Monday in its headquarters in Koy Sanjaq.
The Syrian regime is now at war with itself and its people across the Syrian towns and cities, so the Assad regime posses little or not appetite or power to confront restive Kurds in Syria over Nevroz celebrations; however, past Nevroz celebrations in Syria had turned ugly resulting in the death and arrest of hundreds of Kurds by Syrian forces.
May this Nevroz bring peace, freedom and happiness to humanity and liberation to Kurds across Kurdistan.