ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurds in the Kurdistan Region and across the world on Monday marked their national Flag Day, holding different events and activities.
Every year, the Kurdish people proudly hoist their flag during celebrations where the national anthem is played and traditional Kurdish outfits are worn.
Outside of the Kurdistan Region, the day is also unofficially celebrated in other parts of Greater Kurdistan, such as Turkey’s Kurdistan (Bakur) and Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). Celebrating the day, however, is strictly prohibited in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) by the government.
The symbolism of raising the Kurdistan flag is intimately tied to the to landmark event of over 70 years ago, when the short-lived Kurdish self-governing state of Mahabad held up the flag for the first time, declaring itself the Republic of Kurdistan in Iran.
The Kurdistan flag was hoisted on Dec. 17, 1945, in the city of Mahabad, and was kept as the official flag as the Mahabad Republic was formed on Jan. 22, 1946.
The Kurdistan Flag is also known as Ala Rengin, Kurdish for The Colorful Flag.
The Kurdistan Parliament in the semi-autonomous region of Iraq on Nov. 11, 1999, ratified the Kurdistan flag law choosing the red, white, and green flag with a sun in the center as its official flag. On June 19, 2004, parliament chose December 17 as the national Flag Day, a nod to the Mahabad Republic and its fight for Kurdish rights.
Kurds are labeled the largest stateless ethnic group in the world, with a population of over 40 million people, scattered across the world but mostly living in southeastern Turkey (Bakur), northwestern Iran (Rojhilat), northern Iraq (Bashur/Kurdistan Region), and northern Syria (Rojava).
Editing by Nadia Riva