Residents of North and East Syria celebrated the Akitu fest on Saturday which symbolises the rebirth of nature in spring.
1 April marks the Akitu festival which is celebrated by the Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac communities all around the world at the beginning of the Assyrian New Year. The fest goes back to ancient Mesopotamia as a celebration of the sowing of barley.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Abdi released a celebration message via Twitter, saying: “On this day of Akitu New Year, we congratulate Syriac-Assyrian people in NE Syria and around the world. We wish them peace, prosperity and joyful year ahead.”
Despite its long history, the Akitu festival was celebrated in secret until the 1990s due to political pressure.
Assyrians and Chaldeans continue to observe and celebrate Akitu with parades, picnics, and parties both in Syria, Iraq and in the diaspora. Celebrations take place with people wearing traditional Assyrian clothing and poppies. Assyrian women gather plants and flowers and fashion them into a garland for a home’s front door.