Yazidis celebrate New Year with remembrance and hope

Yazidis celebrate New Year with remembrance and hope

Shafaq News/ The Yazidi community in Iraq and abroad came together to celebrate the Yazidi New Year on Tuesday evening at the Lalish Temple in Sinjar district, in Nineveh Governorate.

The Lalish Temple is considered the primary temple of the Yazidis, attracting visitors from around the world. It is a unique location known for its tranquility and serene atmosphere.

Shafaq News Agency correspondent reported that thousands of Yazidis participated in the festivities, illuminating the night with candles and torches to herald the beginning of the new year.

Religious leaders, including Baba Sheikh, the spiritual leader of the Yazidi community, led rituals and chants, adding a solemn yet celebratory atmosphere to the event.

Yasin Sulou, one of the attendees, shared his happiness on this occasion, expressing a heartfelt wish for peace to prevail in the Kurdistan Region and across Iraq.

However, amid the festivities, emotions were mixed for many Yazidis. Hayam, speaking to Shafaq News Agency, conveyed a sense of sorrow alongside the celebration, saying, "While this day brings joy, our hearts are still heavy with the absence of many loved ones who remain missing or are held captive by ISIS. We pray for their safe return to their families and homes."

The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority, were persecuted by ISIS after the group overran large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq beginning in 2014.

On August 3, 2014, ISIS militants seized control of Sinjar. According to statistics, approximately 1,290 Yazidi civilians were murdered, and since then, more than 70 mass graves and numerous individual graves have been discovered in Sinjar.

In recognition of the Yazidi New Year, which falls on April 17, 2024, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has declared it a public holiday in the Kurdistan Region.

The ethno-religious Yazidi community's population is around 500,000 in Iraq.

Notably, the Directorate of Yazidi Affairs of the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs in the Kurdistan Region clarified a "misunderstanding" related to the Yazidi New Year, known as "Red Wednesday" in some media outlets.

The Directorate stated that some media channels mistakenly referred to the Yazidi New Year as "Red Wednesday," emphasizing that this name has no connection to the Yazidis.

According to the statement, the Yazidi New Year falls on Wednesday, April 17, which is the most important occasion for the Yazidi community and is officially recognized as Yazidi New Year in Kurdistan Parliament Decree No. 16 of 2010.

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