Newroz: The Kurdish festival story, the
By Ruken Tursun
Turkish national day is celebrated, and Newroz isn't
counted as a holiday.
March 22, 2007
A traditional holiday celebrating the deliverance of
the Kurdish people from a mythical tyrant is under
It is Newroz festival today. Newroz means 'new day'
They say this 'new day festival' is being celebrated
in all Eastern cultures but for Kurdish people it
means a lot more than a new day that says spring is
Once upon a time, there was a cruel commander whose
name was Dehak (Zuhak), in Mesopotamia.
Maybe he wasn't called cruel before, maybe he was a
good man, but there was something which made him to
do bad things.
It was his illness. He was near death. A doctor said
he could live longer if he would eat the brain of a
young boy every day.
He was afraid of death, he wanted to live longer but
didn't think that his victims might also want to
live and was afraid.
He began to execute them one-by-one everyday. He
searched for new ones, and went on killing and
Kawa a Kurd who was an ironworker, had a son too. He
loved his son like every father but was brave.
He decided to play a dangerous game. He preferred to
be killed to seeing his son die at Dehak's hand.
Kawa, the ironworker (Kawey Asinger)
Kurds around the world celebrating the New Kurdish
He shared his plan with the citizens. He said: "I'm
taking my son to (Zuhak) Dehak's house. I will
take my sledgehammer with me.
I'm going to kill him and rescue my son. If I
succeed, I will make a fire on the mountainside as a
sign of victory, if I don't, you will know both of
us are dead."
Kawa and his dear son went to Dehak's house. Dehak
(Zuhak)was grinning, a new victim came and would
give his life for Dehak that day.
Kawa, for the sake of his son's life, hit his
sledgehammer on Dehak's head, hit many times until
sparks flew and those sparks became a big fire that
could be seen from the mountain.
Newroz then became a celebration of a new day,
coming after the dark.
The powerful commander lost his life by the hand of
an ordinary ironworker to give life to those young
innocent people. It was a sign of victory and hope
for many generations since then.
Today Kurdish people light fires everywhere to mark
It is not a sign of victory, but the hope that
victory will one day come. They want to be
independent in their own country under the name of
They want to speak Kurdish everywhere, to learn and
teach it to their children at schools, and learn
Kurdish history and literature.
As it stands, they can't even use their Kurdish
names. The current injustice is bigger than Dehak's.
Although every Turkish national day is celebrated,
and Newroz isn't counted as a holiday.
Students, teachers, doctors and nurses are not
allowed leave to celebrate. If they do go, they will
People are being assimilated. Kurdish culture is
dying. The cruelty is bigger now than it ever was
There are Kawas but not many because courage is also
Newroz means 'a new day' but Kurdish people still
hope for a real new day.
** The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Others estimate as many as 40 million Kurds live in
Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish
alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey)
More about Kurdistan
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