Assyrians in Duhok have a cheerful Akitu celebration

Assyrian and Chaldean Christians held their New Year’s celebration, Akitu, in Duhok on April 1st.
author_image Kurmanj Nhili
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.

Assyrian and Chaldean Christians held their New Year’s celebration, Akitu, in Duhok on April 1st.

Over one thousand Assyrian and Chaldean Christians came together in the city of Duhok to celebrate Akitu this Friday. Participants marched for several kilometers through the streets of Duhok, dressed in traditional clothes, while expressing happiness for the region’s stability and multi-religious freedom of expression. 

‘Our ancestors have been celebrating this important holiday for 6772 years. This holiday brings together our people from all over Iraq and this year many people from diaspora also joined us.’ Dindar William, one of the organizers of Akitu activities in Duhok, told Kurdistan24. The Akitu celebration has roots in ancient Babylonian and Assyrian times.

Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.

‘Duhok is a beautiful, safe and secure city. We celebrate this holiday every year in Duhok, except during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region. Since 1992 Akitu has been openly and freely celebrated in Duhok. The Akitu of 2005 marked the most participation, with 60,000 people taking part in festivals organized for this holiday.’

Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.

The march ended with a party where traditional Assyrian dance and music delighted the participants in the Duhok valley.

Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.

Nisan Esho, a participant who attended the march with his family, told Kurdistan 24 that the Assyrian Babylonian New Year marks the renewal and the rebirth of nature. ‘Every year on April first it’s celebrated by our people, wishing for peace for all.’

Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.

Duhok governor Ali Tatar congratulated the participants and extended his best wishes to Assyrians in Duhok, and the Kurdistan region in general. He said he hoped this occasion would be a door to strengthening the spirit of peace, tolerance, and more peaceful coexistence.

Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Duhok’s deputy governor, Shamoon Shlaimoon, who is from the Christian community, said that Akitu is considered one of the oldest holidays known to man. ‘Many Assyrians from Nineveh and Baghdad have also joined the Akitu holiday festivals in Duhok. Hopefully, those living abroad also have the opportunity to join this happy occasion in the homeland.’
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.
Celebration of Akitu (Assyrian Babylonian New Year) Duhok, April 1, 2022-Photo Kurmanj Nhili.