Akitu festival celebrated by Assyrian communities in Iraq, Syria, Turkey
Akitu, the Assyrian spring festival, or the Babylonian New Year, was celebrated on Saturday in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and other parts of Northern Iraq, in Northern Syria and Turkey.
Akitu marks the revival of nature in the spring and is dedicated to the rebirth of the ancient Mesopotamian god Marduk and his victory when he created the world out of chaos.
The festival, known to be the oldest holiday globally, is also referred to as "Kha b-Nisan" (first of April in the Suret language), and is typically celebrated with large gatherings in the community's ancestral homeland of Duhok (KRI) and the Nineveh Plains (Northern Iraq). Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs play music and dance while wearing traditional costumes.
Assyrian media Sabro in Turkey said on Saturday that Akitu festival has continued to be celebrated by the Assyrian people despite massacres and genocides in the past, and that it was celebrated for the 6773rd time this year.
The days of 1st and 2nd of April were recently declared holiday by the executive branch of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), it noted.
Today, April 1, marks the Babylonian and Assyrian New Year (#Akitu), a symbol of renewal and life. We extend our warmest congratulations to the Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac communities and our best wishes for a joyful and prosperous Akitu. pic.twitter.com/EusDKlwtPA— U.S. Consulate General Erbil (@USCGERBIL) April 1, 2023
US Consulate General in KRI's capital Erbil released a message on the occasion, saying:
"Today, April 1, marks the Babylonian and Assyrian New Year (Akitu), a symbol of renewal and life. We extend our warmest congratulations to the Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac communities and our best wishes for a joyful and prosperous Akitu."