First of all, I want to say that many nations celebrate Newroz. In this blog post, I will talk about what Newroz is, why, when, and how Kurdish people celebrate it. I hope you enjoy reading this post and find it informative.
What Is Newroz?
Newroz (Nawroz) is Kurdish new year. We celebrate the first day of Kurdish year every year on March 21st. It’s also considered the first day of spring. Newroz represents new beginnings and rebirth as nature is being born again after the cold seasons of fall and winter. The dead trees start producing new leaves and flowers bloom again.
We, Kurdish, light up fire to celebrate Newroz’s Eve, which is on March 20th. Many years ago, families would light up fire from their neighborhoods and/or their houses, but this has changed a little bit over the years. Now there are special places where people can visit and join the celebrations. Each city and town celebrates Newroz’s Eve in their own way, my personal favorite celebrations are held in Akre, a.k.a. Capital of Newroz.
Preparations are done days before the event. Big non-lit up torches are ready on the top of the Sare Gri mountain – Akre. On March 20th, people from Akre and guests from other cities join the celebrations. Akre’s celebrations attract many many people to this beautiful town. At around noon and afternoon time until before sunset people start going on the Sare Gri mountain. At sunset time, they light up the torches and people carry them and walk down the mountain with those big torches. Kurdish traditional songs are played everywhere and the sky of Akre will be lit up with fireworks 🎇.
I’m having goosebumps just writing about it! It is one of the most magical things one can experience. Everyone is in this festive mood and are sharing happiness together. Well after it is dark people start going home and this can take a very long time because it is very crowded. After spending hours in this crowd and on the road, we get home and finalize our preparations for the big day, Newroz!
To see some videos of Sare Gri celebrations, you can click here. The videos aren’t very professional because I recorded them myself 😅.
How Do We Celebrate Newroz?
Let me be very clear, Kurdish people love food and dancing. So it’s not a surprise that these two elements can largely be found in our picnics.
We celebrate Newroz by going on picnics. We love picnics a lot and Newroz isn’t the only time we go on picnics. We start our picnics in mid February until early November. That’s beside snow trips which I won’t get into. What makes Newroz picnics stand out is that most people go on picnics on that day.
We (women and men) wear Kurdish traditional clothes. When we get to our destinations, which are very crowded of course but no one minds, we start by placing carpets and things to sit on. Kurdish traditional songs are played and some people start Kurdish traditional dancing. If it’s around lunch time, then it’s served and it’s a must that lunch meals are dolma and briani 😋. After lunch, there’s usually more dancing and later on we have sunflower seeds with tea and/or coca cola. Cakes and fruits are probably served with the sunflower. All while families are having a good time together, telling funny stories, taking pictures, and making precious memories with our loved ones. After some time we get closer to dinner time and although no one is really hungry, we start preparing dinner! What can I do, we love food and who can blame us? Food brings joy 😉! The dinner is usually tikka and kabab (I wouldn’t mind some kabab right now 😀).
Then after dinner there might be some more dancing and after a long interesting day, we start heading home. Let me tell you, this part is my least favorite part. That’s because everyone is going home and the roads are too crowded. The cars barely move. This could take hours and hours. But we don’t mind it as long as we have a great time with our families celebrating our new year.
Newroz is celebrated for 3 days in my region, from March 21-23. Some people go on picnics all three days, but not everyone.
If you’re interested in seeing some women’s Kurdish clothes, here’s my Instagram post.