Assyrian New Year

Assyrian New Year Quick Facts

AKA NameKha b-Nisan, Ha b' Nisin, First of April, Resha d'Sheta, Head of the year, Akitu
HashtagsCompiled on#AssyrianNewYear
Related Hashtags#Assyrian, #AKITU, #6773
2024 DateApril 1, 2024
2025 DateApril 1, 2025

Assyrian New Year

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Assyrian New Year History

Assyrian New Year, also known as Kha b'Nissan, commemorates the new year and also highlights the rich cultural heritage and traditions passed through generations of the Assyrian people.

The roots of this festival date back to the ancient Mesopotamian era, making it one of the oldest continuously observed New Year celebrations globally. It originated in the ancient city of Babylon, where the arrival of the vernal equinox was marked with a grand festival called Akitu. Over time, this commemoration became part of the Assyrian culture and identity and has been celebrated year after year ever since.

The Observance of the Assyrian New Year typically involves elaborate parades, traditional dancing, vibrant costumes, and music, showcasing the vibrant Assyrian culture. It is an opportunity for Assyrians in America and around the world to come together and celebrate their shared history, keeping their ancestral traditions alive. This delightful celebration is observed on the first day of Nissan, which, according to the Assyrian calendar, falls on April 1st.

Facts about Assyrian New Year

  • In ancient Assyria, the New Year festival was celebrated for 12 days. Antique objects such as cuneiform tablets have shown that this celebration was the most significant event of the year.
  • After the formation of Turkey, the Assyrian New Year along with the Nowruz were debarred as public celebrations. Assyrians in Turkey were first permitted to publicly celebrate Kha b’ Nisan in 2005.
  • The Assyrian New Year has a few names. Kha b’ Nisan or Ha b’ Nisin, means the “First of April”, while Resha d’Sheta translates to “Head of the year” in Assyrian. Akitu, the Akkadian name for the Assyrian New Year is also commonly used. The Assyrian New Year is a spring festival celebrated on April 1.
  • The Assyrian New Year was the biggest festival in the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian Empires.

Top things to do for Assyrian New Year's Day

  • It is custom to celebrate Assyrian New Year by holding parties, picnics, and parades. It’s not unusual to see men and women together wearing traditional clothes and dancing in parks for hours, or families holed up in cultural centers enjoying many hours of poetry. This party is recognized as the Re sha d’sheta for Assyrians in Iraq and throughout the diaspora.
  • Participate in a beautiful tradition where Assyrian girls fold flowers and herbs which are then suspended from the roof. It is known as Diqna d’ Nisan, meaning "Beard of April/Spring".
  • Attend one of the many Assyrian New Year parades. Located in Chicago, Illinois, the North Side parade is one of the largest Assyrian celebrations during Assyrian New Year. It's held annually and begins at Western and Granville. It continues north to Western and Pratt.

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