With the pandemic keeping them from Lalish, Yezidis bring the New Year home
Ba’adre, Duhok Province (Kurdistan 24) – In the town of Ba’adre the Kurdistan Region’s Yezidis (Ezidis) have turned out for Carsema Sere Sale, or Red Wednesday, their New Year holiday typically held on the third Wednesday in April.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the celebrations this year look different.
In Yazidi-majority Ba’adre, Ali, 23, says there will be no large gathering because of the coronavirus. Baba Sheikh Ali Elias Haji Nasir, the Yezidis’ top religious guide, decreed that there be no official ceremony in Lalish, home to their holiest temple. Many of the thousands who usually come to Lalish from abroad are unable to return this year.
But still people are able to celebrate: on display today are the bright-colored clothes, dyed eggs, flowers and fruit, and it is a joyous holiday for the minority group who are still reconciling with the genocide at the hands of the Islamic State. Many remain displaced, unable to return to Sinjar (Shingal), their traditional home.
Anefa, 42, said people here are still sick and they haven’t been able to gather since 2019.
Two years ago they traveled to Lalish to light the traditional fire and candles, she said, but now they are going from house to house to congratulate their neighbors, families and friends.
Reporting and photos by Wladimir van Wilgenburg in Ba’adre, writing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly in Erbil.