Department of Foreign Relations
Kurdistan Regional Government
Source: KRG-DFR DFR publication date: MON, 26 MAR 2012 11:35
Diplomatic community celebrates Newroz in Erbil

Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq ( – Under the auspices of Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and in partnership with the Erbil Governorate, the KRG Department of Foreign Relations Tuesday, 20 March, hosted the diplomatic community for the lighting of a Newroz fire and for a dinner banquet to celebrate the beginning of the Kurdish New Year.

Visiting ambassadors, heads of missions, chargé d’Affaires and members of the local diplomatic community joined President Barzani and a number of KRG ministers, MPs and other officials at Shanadar Park to celebrate the occasion.

The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, thanked the guests for attending and said, “Newroz is more than just a holiday; it is a symbol of freedom, liberty, hope and optimism for the Kurdish people. Newroz represents our freedom from tyranny. Today, the Kurds enjoy security and stability combined with unprecedented prosperity and economic growth. This has been the vision of our leadership, and this is why we celebrate.”

“We appreciate all the contributions of the international community in helping us achieve and maintain these realities,” he concluded.

Guests joined the President in lighting the Newroz fire to mark the beginning of the three day national holiday for the Kurdish New Year of 2712. Other festivities included live musical performances by Kurdish singers as well as dances and a firework display to end the celebration. The international guests were then invited to an evening banquet at Tangram Hotel hosted by the Department of Foreign Relations and the Governorate of Erbil.

Observed in many countries throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, Newroz holds a particularly significant meaning for the Kurdish people as it commemorates the legendary struggle of the Kurdish blacksmith Kawa against the tyrannical king Zuhak. According to the myth, the hero defeated the evil king on the Eve of Newroz and lit a fire on the hilltop to announce his victory.

Kurds, in all parts of the world, have celebrated Newroz for over 2,500 years. Newroz, which literally means “new day”, falls on the spring equinox, thus is also a celebration representing new beginnings, hope, and unity. It is considered the most important celebration of the entire year.

In addition to those mentioned above, the events were attended by Mr Karim Sinjari, Minister of Interior; Mr Safin Mohsin Dizayee, Minister of Education; Judge Raof Rashid, Minister of Justice; Mr Kawa Mahmoud Shakir, Minister of Culture and Youth; Mr Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil; Dr Mohamed Hama Sura, Deputy Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament; as well as representatives of local political parties, civil society NGOs and other officials.

International attendees included representatives of the following countries and international organizations: Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, the Palestinian Authority, Romania, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, US, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General, EUJUST-LEX, and the ICRC. 

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