Crowds flock to countryside to celebrate Newroz
By A.C. Robinson
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Spirits were high as people flocked to the hills around Erbil on Wednesday to welcome Newroz.
Kurdish families celebrate new year festivities, which last for three days, with picnics and barbeques, donning traditional clothing to listen and dance to the traditional music of drums and flutes.
“There were many problems in the past six months that were very difficult for the Kurdish people after the referendum vote, so Kurds have awaited this day as a way to forget their problems,” said Salah Qader, a Kurdish teacher from Baghdad who moved to Erbil in 2014.
Traffic was backed up on Koya Road for several kilometers near the Martyrs Monument as people gathered with family and friends to celebrate the holiday.
Traditional music and children’s laughter echoed off the hills, dotted with families from across the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and abroad
, enjoying the good food.
As the sun set over Erbil, dozens of large fires could be seen across the countryside with people still dancing as fireworks lit up the darkening sky.
“Kurds are many and we share one dream, to have a country where we can exercise our rights. We wish that the surrounding countries would understand our situation,” said Qader.
March 21 coincides with the first day of the new year according to the Kurdish calendar that turned 2718 this year.
The people of Kurdistan celebrate Newroz as a day of freedom from tyranny.
Photos: Jamal Yad/Rudaw