Nowruz celebrated by Iraqi Kurds with fire and fireworks

The festivities are marked across the region

Thousands of people in northern Iraq celebrated Nowruz, a festival of ancient Persian origin which marks the new year.

Nowruz celebrates the start of spring and the coming solar Hijri year. It has its roots in Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion.

It is celebrated by Kurdish people on March 21.

Men and women in the northern Kurdish town of Akre welcomed their new year by lighting torches and fires, and climbing a mountain where large Kurdish flags flew beneath fireworks displays.

Nowruz symbolises the passing of the dark season, and the arrival of the season of light.

The festival is celebrated by Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

It symbolises Kurdish culture and the struggle of the Kurds for their own autonomous nation.

More than 20 million Kurds live in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey.

Newroz in Kurdish, or Nowruz in Farsi, means New Day and it is also known as Persian New Year.

The festival in Akre draws thousands of people every year.

The holiday, dating to at least 1,700BC and incorporating ancient Zoroastrian traditions, is the most important event in the Iranian calendar and for Kurds in the region, yet only a very small number of people worldwide still practice the Zoroastrian religion.

On Sunday, UAE leaders offered their best wishes to those celebrating the festival of Nowruz.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, sent his greetings on Twitter saying he hoped for peace and happiness for all.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, wished those celebrating the festival of Nowruz “peace, prosperity and well-being”.

“Congratulations to all those celebrating Nowruz, both in the UAE and around the world. May the year ahead be one of peace, prosperity and well-being for all,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter on Sunday.

Updated: March 22, 2022, 2:09 PM