Akitu: Assyrians celebrate 6769th New Year

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Assyrians in Duhok province marked the 6769th Babylonian Assyrian New Year on Monday. The Akitu festival marks the rebirth of nature in the spring, securing the life and future of the people for the coming year.

Traditionally a twelve-day festival, it begins on the first new moon after the spring equinox and is dedicated to the rebirth of Marduk and his victory when he created the world out of chaos. In Akitu, the king is reminded of his humility and role as a servant dedicated to caring for his people by being stripped of his regalia and struck in the face by the head priest. Akitu is one of the oldest recorded religious festivals in the world. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers issued a statement on Monday extending its New Year wishes. “During this New Year, we hope all families who were forced to leave their homes will return with dignity to their places of origin to pursue secure and stable lives,” the statement read, referring to the mass displacement of Assyrians from the Nineveh Plains during the war with Islamic State (ISIS). “On the occasion of Akitu, we once again reiterate that the Kurdistan Regional Government is working as always to promote a culture of living together with tolerance and peace among all religious and ethnic communities,” the statement added. The US consulate in Erbil also shared it congratulations in a post on social media. “We congratulate the Christian community on the Assyrian Babylonian new year, Akitu 6769. The celebration of Akitu is an example of Iraq’s cultural richness and heritage,” it said. Photos by Ayub Nasri / Rudaw