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Nowruz in Turkey
|In Turkey, Nowruz, is celebrated by the Kurdish minority. The holiday banned for decades is now legal in Turkey. The word ‘Newroz’ is Kurdish for ‘Nowruz’. The Kurds celebrate this feast between 18th and 21st of March. The holiday is considered by Kurds to be the single most important holiday of every year. It involves setting up large bon fires on mountain tops celebrating the defeat of the demon-king Zahak, a character from the Shahnameh, The Book of the Kings by Iran’s national poet Ferdowsi Toussi.
With this festival Kurds gather into the fairgrounds mostly outside the cities to welcome spring. Women wear colorful dresses and spangled head scarves and young men wave flags of green, yellow and red, the colors of the Kurdish people. They hold this festival by lighting fire and dancing around it.
The main Kurdish greeting that accompanies the festival is Newroz pîroz be! literally translating to Happy Newroz. Another greeting used is, Bijî Newroz!, simply meaning Long live Newroz!
Newroz is still largely considered as a potent symbol of Kurdish identity in Turkey. Newroz celebrations are usually organized by Kurdish cultural associations and pro-Kurdish political parties. Thus, the Democratic Society Party was a leading force in the organization of the 2006 Newroz events throughout Turkey. In recent years the Newroz celebration gathers around 1 million participants in Diyarbakır, the biggest city of the Kurdish dominated Southeastern Turkey. As the Kurdish Newroz celebrations in Turkey often are theater for political messages, the events are frequently criticized for being political rallies rather than cultural celebrations.
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