Newroz from Kurdish and Persian Perspectives – A Comparative Study

Hewa Salam Khalid

Abstract


The celebration of Newroz/Nowruz at the beginning of spring has a long history among Aryan ethnic groups such as Kurds, Persians, Afghans, Azaris, Tajiks, and Balochs. Newroz, as one of the most important festivals of the ancient Iranians, is a symbol of rebirth, freshness, freedom, and peace. Although its exact date of observance may vary from an ethnic group to another, it mainly occurs between 19th to 21st of March because of its linkage with the Spring Equinox. The festival has been listed among the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. This study analyzes Newroz according to Kurdish and Persian perspectives. The primary purpose is to investigate diverse cultural perceptions toward the ancient festival among these two nations, and the way they celebrate it. The qualitative research method is used, and semi-structured interviews have been conducted to explore significant differences and similarities between the two nations’ celebrations of Newroz. The participants of the study were selected using the judgmental sampling technique. Results indicate that there are numerous differences in celebrating Newroz. For the Kurds who are a stateless nation, besides its cultural background, Newroz is a symbol of resistance while for Persians it is a pure cultural festival. Even though it marks the beginning of the Kurdish and the Persian new year, their calendars, myths, the way they celebrate it, and their understanding for its origin are different. 


Keywords


Newroz/Nowruz, Kurds, Persians, intangible cultural heritage, origin of the Kurds.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/318

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