Happy Assyrian New Year (6767), Akitu Fest, to the Assyrian Christians around the world.
Today, April 1, Assyrians around the world celebrate this happy occasion with great expectations and hope for the future of their people. They also offer prayers of support for the well-being of their brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and throughout the Middle East; and, especially, for their success in fighting the good fight to establish an Assyrian-administered region in their ancestral homeland of Iraq.
For Assyrians, the Feast of the New Year is the year’s most important national festival, one handed down thru history from the remote past. Before Assyrians embraced Christianity in the first century A.D., and in accordance with their ancient calendar, the New Year was celebrated on what would be March 21, the first day of astronomical spring. After their conversion to Christianity and their adoption of the Gregorian calendar, Assyrians moved their New Year to April 1st. Today Iranians, Kurds, and some Iraqi Arabs, also celebrate the New Year on this day.
It is, sadly, the nature of present circumstances in the Middle East that the Assyrians of Iraq are celebrating Akitu Fest even while they are fighting to survive what the U.S. State Department has officially designated as an ongoing genocide of the Assyrian nation. This is a tragedy of historical proportions, and the NEC-SE wants the world to know that if Assyrians are eradicated from their homeland in the Middle East, civilized nations will be losing more than just an enduring ally within the region; they will also be losing the tip of the spear for civilized communities throughout the world.