Ezidi leader marks Red Wednesday

On Tuesday, Kurdish Yezidi (Ezidi) religious leader Baba Sheikh wished Ezidis all around the world a happy New Year.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – On Tuesday, Kurdish Yezidi (Ezidi) religious leader Baba Sheikh wished Ezidis all around the world a happy New Year.

Charshama Sor, the Kurdish phrase for “Red Wednesday,” is the New Year for Ezidis that takes place every year in April, usually after April 14 and on a Wednesday.

Ezidis claim to have one of the oldest religions in the world, and their evidence for this is their calendar. According to the Ezidi Calendar, they are now in the year 6766 (April 2016).

The Ezidi calendar is older than any other religious calendars such as the Christian or Gregorian, Jewish, and Islamic calendars.

“My message is to wish a happy New Year to all Ezidis from the Kurdistan Region, Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Ezidis all around the world,” Sheikh told Kurdistan24. “We hope that God will end this fire [Islamic State (IS) terror] and pour His mercy on the people of Iraq,” he added.

On August 2014, IS occupied the city of Sinjar (Shingal) and enslaved thousands of Ezidis, including men, women, and children. Additionally, IS massacred Ezidi people in different parts of the city and sold their women as slaves in other controlled territories of Iraq and Syria.

On Nov. 13, Kurdish Peshmerga forces liberated Shingal with the aerial support of the international coalition warplanes.

Before IS took control of their cities and towns in the southwest of the Kurdistan Region, Ezidis used to celebrate Red Wednesday in their holy sites by preparing food and having picnics, but in the last two years, they have celebrated the New Year mainly in Lalish Temple in Duhok.

As part of their tradition, Ezidi women traditionally paint eggs on Tuesday and hang flowers at their doorsteps to welcome the New Year. 

Moreover, Kurdistan Region President, Masoud Barzani, released a statement on Tuesday congratulating Ezidis for Charshama Sor and mentioning Ezidis’ struggle as an example of resisting IS oppression.

Barzani also stated that Ezidis have heroically defended their Kurdish identity despite the will of enemies to obliterate them.

The sense of their ethnicity and religious identity was a strong weapon against the inhumane crimes committed when Shingal was occupied by IS. Enemies could not destroy the Ezidis’ strong morale, Barzani added.

President Barzani also emphasized his support for Ezidi people while congratulating them. “We insist on Ezidis' rights when deciding on their future, and we won’t let others decide on behalf of them. We insist on protecting them and providing them a future far from sadness and persecution.”


Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa