Assyrian New Year is celebrated on the first of April every year. This year, it takes place on . It is known as ‘Akitu’ and commonly referred to as ‘Kha b-Nisan.’ The holiday not only marks the beginning of a new year but also the beginning of spring. As the weather becomes warmer, plants start to flower, tree leaves begin to grow and young animals are born such as chicks and lambs. Thus the holiday is seen as a new beginning by many Assyrians.
History of Assyrian New Year
Assyrian New Year is a celebration of the link between ancient and modern Assyrians. It’s one of the oldest-known religious festivals in the world. It originates from the ancient Sumerian civilization of southern Mesopotamia and it was celebrated throughout the ancient Assyrian Empire for several years.
In ancient times, the Assyrian New Year was celebrated grandly for 12 days, one day for each month of the calendar year. The year was formerly divided into two seasons, summer and winter, and these were marked by two agricultural festivals, the sowing of barley in autumn and the cutting of barley in spring. It was obvious that agriculture played a key role in their celebrations.
Assyria is home to the Assyrian people in the Kingdom of Northern Mesopotamia and it was later known to be the center of a great empire in the middle east. It was located in what is now known as Northern Iraq and Southern Turkey. Assyria was not always an independent state and only gained its autonomy in the 14th century B.C. During the past century, most Assyrians have relocated to other parts of the world such as Europe, Australia, Russia, and North America. This move was influenced by different tragic events such as the massacres of Diyarbakir by the Ottoman Empire and the Kurdish tribes during World War I, the Simele massacres in 1933 in Iraq, and the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Assyrian New Year timeline
Assyria’s history begins with the foundation of the city of Assur.
The Christians within a particular Assyrian empire form the Church of the East.
The Catholics of the east become independent from western authorities.
The British establish the Assyrian levies, that is, enlisted military service.
Assyrian New Year FAQs
Why do we celebrate Assyrian New Year?
Assyrian New Year is celebrated because Assyrians see the day as the start of a new life.
Is the Assyrian calendar still used?
The calendar is still used by ethnic Assyrians in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, parts of Turkey, and Iran.
Who celebrated Akitu as the New Year?
The Babylonians celebrated Akitu as the new year in spring to mark the rebirth of nature.
Assyrian New Year Activities
Display wheat in small plates
On the first day of spring, which marked the beginning of Assyrian New Year, the Assyrians would display wheat on small plates in front of their homes. It was an important part of the celebration.
Decorate your dinner table with seven fruits
The Assyrians believed seven to be a holy number. Adorning your dinner table with seven different types of fruits such as apples, pomegranates, pears, apricots, quinces, and plums, for example, is a way to celebrate the new year.
Learn more about Assyrians
The Assyrians are an ethnic group with a very old history. There are a lot of interesting things to learn about them and you can celebrate the new year by doing so.
5 Interesting Facts About Religion
Christains were the largest religious group
In 2015, Christians were the largest religious group in the world.
The population of Muslims will increase
The population of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% between 2015 and 2060.
Religion will grow in Africa
Most of the predicted growth of Islam and Christianity is expected to take place in sub-Saharan Africa.
More people becoming atheists
More people will leave Christianity between 2010 to 2050 to become atheists.
Highest fertility rate
Compared to other religious groups, Muslims have the highest fertility rate.
Why We Love Assyrian New Year
It’s a history lesson
Assyrian New Year makes us curious about Assyrian culture and thus we are compelled to do more research on it. It increases our knowledge of historical tribes.
It’s the beginning of spring
Everyone loves spring. The beginning of spring signals the beginning of life and this ushers in the New Year with a lot of positive vibes and renewed hope.
An excuse to decorate your dinner table
On the first of spring, which is Assyrian New Year, the dinner table was to be decorated with different fruits, seeds, and nuts regardless of whether you were expecting guests or not. Everyone loves an adorned dinner table, so you can always use the holiday as a reason to liven up mealtime.
Assyrian New Year dates