Life and rebirth in Iraq: Yazidis celebrate New Year

Published April 20th, 2017 - 06:34 GMT

The Yazidi New Year festival is celebrated on the first Wednesday after April fourteenth and honors the day when God’s representative, the ‘Peacock Angel’ Tawûsê Melek descended to earth at Lalish to fill earth with life and renewal.

This year’s celebration marks the biggest gathering since the Yazidis faced persecution by Daesh in 2014.

Candle-lit processions, painted eggs, and special dishes are all part of the visual feast that makes up this ancient holiday celebrating the rebirth of spring.

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The Yazidi new year is welcomed with candles and lamps in the Lalish Vallley, Iraq. The celebrations announce the birth of spring and a new cycle of life, commemorating the creation of the universe and honoring nature.

The Yazidi new year is welcomed with candles and lamps in the Lalish Vallley, Iraq. The celebrations announce the birth of spring and a new cycle of life, commemorating the creation of the universe and honoring nature.

Yazidis kiss the Lalish temple, the place where it is believed that the Peackock Angel, God's representative on earth, descended to bless the earth with fertility and renewal.

Yazidis kiss the Lalish temple, the place where it is believed that the Peackock Angel, God's representative on earth, descended to bless the earth with fertility and renewal.

Yazidi women dress up on Charshema Sor or ‘Red Wednesday’ and visit cemeteries to offer presents to the dead whose spirits are believed to return to their graves. Presents include dishes, sweets, lamps and other things.

Yazidi women dress up on Charshema Sor or ‘Red Wednesday’ and visit cemeteries to offer presents to the dead whose spirits are believed to return to their graves. Presents include dishes, sweets, lamps and other things.

Thousands gathered on Wednesday, April 19, at the holy shrine of the Lalish Temple, to welome the new year.

Thousands gathered on Wednesday, April 19, at the holy shrine of the Lalish Temple, to welome the new year.

A Yazidi woman in the Khanke refugee camp in Iraq is boiling eggs to celebrate the new year. Eggs symbolize the earth, which is said to have been transformed from a liquid to a solid status, marking a new beginning of life.

A Yazidi woman in the Khanke refugee camp in Iraq is boiling eggs to celebrate the new year. Eggs symbolize the earth, which is said to have been transformed from a liquid to a solid status, marking a new beginning of life.

Painting eggs after they are cooked is an old Yazidi tradition during the new year celebrations. The colors of the eggs resemble the colors of the rainbow, created by God’s representative when he descended to earth.

Painting eggs after they are cooked is an old Yazidi tradition during the new year celebrations. The colors of the eggs resemble the colors of the rainbow, created by God’s representative when he descended to earth.

Yezidi kids hit their eggs against each other until one wins by breaking the other’s egg. The game is played before the eggs are eaten and the shells are kept for the following day.

Yezidi kids hit their eggs against each other until one wins by breaking the other’s egg. The game is played before the eggs are eaten and the shells are kept for the following day.

Broken egg shells, mud and anemone flowers are placed above the door of Yazidi homes, providing its residents with luck and fertility for the following year.

Broken egg shells, mud and anemone flowers are placed above the door of Yazidi homes, providing its residents with luck and fertility for the following year.

Gifts offered to visitors by Yazidi families during the Red Wednesday.

Gifts offered to visitors by Yazidi families during the Red Wednesday.

Fire is considered sacred by Yazidis, as it is regarded to be the earthly form of the divine energy. During the new year celebrations, God’s representative, Tawûsê Melek, is asked to return as the sun.

Fire is considered sacred by Yazidis, as it is regarded to be the earthly form of the divine energy. During the new year celebrations, God’s representative, Tawûsê Melek, is asked to return as the sun.

The Yazidi new year is welcomed with candles and lamps in the Lalish Vallley, Iraq. The celebrations announce the birth of spring and a new cycle of life, commemorating the creation of the universe and honoring nature.
Yazidis kiss the Lalish temple, the place where it is believed that the Peackock Angel, God's representative on earth, descended to bless the earth with fertility and renewal.
Yazidi women dress up on Charshema Sor or ‘Red Wednesday’ and visit cemeteries to offer presents to the dead whose spirits are believed to return to their graves. Presents include dishes, sweets, lamps and other things.
Thousands gathered on Wednesday, April 19, at the holy shrine of the Lalish Temple, to welome the new year.
A Yazidi woman in the Khanke refugee camp in Iraq is boiling eggs to celebrate the new year. Eggs symbolize the earth, which is said to have been transformed from a liquid to a solid status, marking a new beginning of life.
Painting eggs after they are cooked is an old Yazidi tradition during the new year celebrations. The colors of the eggs resemble the colors of the rainbow, created by God’s representative when he descended to earth.
Yezidi kids hit their eggs against each other until one wins by breaking the other’s egg. The game is played before the eggs are eaten and the shells are kept for the following day.
Broken egg shells, mud and anemone flowers are placed above the door of Yazidi homes, providing its residents with luck and fertility for the following year.
Gifts offered to visitors by Yazidi families during the Red Wednesday.
Fire is considered sacred by Yazidis, as it is regarded to be the earthly form of the divine energy. During the new year celebrations, God’s representative, Tawûsê Melek, is asked to return as the sun.
The Yazidi new year is welcomed with candles and lamps in the Lalish Vallley, Iraq. The celebrations announce the birth of spring and a new cycle of life, commemorating the creation of the universe and honoring nature.
The Yazidi new year is welcomed with candles and lamps in the Lalish Vallley, Iraq. The celebrations announce the birth of spring and a new cycle of life, commemorating the creation of the universe and honoring nature.
Yazidis kiss the Lalish temple, the place where it is believed that the Peackock Angel, God's representative on earth, descended to bless the earth with fertility and renewal.
Yazidis kiss the Lalish temple, the place where it is believed that the Peackock Angel, God's representative on earth, descended to bless the earth with fertility and renewal.
Yazidi women dress up on Charshema Sor or ‘Red Wednesday’ and visit cemeteries to offer presents to the dead whose spirits are believed to return to their graves. Presents include dishes, sweets, lamps and other things.
Yazidi women dress up on Charshema Sor or ‘Red Wednesday’ and visit cemeteries to offer presents to the dead whose spirits are believed to return to their graves. Presents include dishes, sweets, lamps and other things.
Thousands gathered on Wednesday, April 19, at the holy shrine of the Lalish Temple, to welome the new year.
Thousands gathered on Wednesday, April 19, at the holy shrine of the Lalish Temple, to welome the new year.
A Yazidi woman in the Khanke refugee camp in Iraq is boiling eggs to celebrate the new year. Eggs symbolize the earth, which is said to have been transformed from a liquid to a solid status, marking a new beginning of life.
A Yazidi woman in the Khanke refugee camp in Iraq is boiling eggs to celebrate the new year. Eggs symbolize the earth, which is said to have been transformed from a liquid to a solid status, marking a new beginning of life.
Painting eggs after they are cooked is an old Yazidi tradition during the new year celebrations. The colors of the eggs resemble the colors of the rainbow, created by God’s representative when he descended to earth.
Painting eggs after they are cooked is an old Yazidi tradition during the new year celebrations. The colors of the eggs resemble the colors of the rainbow, created by God’s representative when he descended to earth.
Yezidi kids hit their eggs against each other until one wins by breaking the other’s egg. The game is played before the eggs are eaten and the shells are kept for the following day.
Yezidi kids hit their eggs against each other until one wins by breaking the other’s egg. The game is played before the eggs are eaten and the shells are kept for the following day.
Broken egg shells, mud and anemone flowers are placed above the door of Yazidi homes, providing its residents with luck and fertility for the following year.
Broken egg shells, mud and anemone flowers are placed above the door of Yazidi homes, providing its residents with luck and fertility for the following year.
Gifts offered to visitors by Yazidi families during the Red Wednesday.
Gifts offered to visitors by Yazidi families during the Red Wednesday.
Fire is considered sacred by Yazidis, as it is regarded to be the earthly form of the divine energy. During the new year celebrations, God’s representative, Tawûsê Melek, is asked to return as the sun.
Fire is considered sacred by Yazidis, as it is regarded to be the earthly form of the divine energy. During the new year celebrations, God’s representative, Tawûsê Melek, is asked to return as the sun.