It was a moment of great joy and pride for Zoroastrians worldwide, as over 10,000 people attended one of the biggest ‘NoRooz 2022’ celebrations in Kurdistan, on 20th March, 2022, organized by Awat Darya and her group of volunteers from the Yesna Organization for the Development of Zoroastrian Philosophy. This was possible after months of negotiations, in which Awat Darya played an instrumental role in convincing the Prime Minister of Iraq to declare NoRooz as a National Holiday – a remarkable achievement indeed, especially as there was no funding from any Zoroastrian Association or individuals.
Awat Darya was one of the 16-member committee preparing for Nowruz celebrations in Kurdistan’s Sulaymaniyah province, representing the Zoroastrians, alongside Azad Saeed, Director, Yesna Organization. “We celebrated with all the Zoroastrians in Sulaymaniyah. It was happy celebrations, where over ten-thousand Zoroastrians and non-Zoroastrians participated.”
The event was broadcast live on numerous TV and Radio channels, as Darya and other Zoroastrians demonstrated, “how Nowruz was celebrated during the Sassanids era, when Zoroastrianism was spread across the homeland of the Aryans (ancient Iran), which extended from the borders of India to China, passing through Asia Minor in Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, present Iran, Kurdistan and Mesopotamia, along the eastern side of the Euphrates River, where we presented a play that embodies the spirit of celebrations on Nowruz festivals at that time, to make people understand that Nowruz holidays have become part of the heritage and traditions of the Aryans who still celebrate it as a Feast. On behalf of the Zoroastrians of Kurdistan and Iraq, we congratulate you on the holidays of Nowruz, hoping that it will be the beginning of goodness, love, peace, prosperity and happiness for all human beings in the world,” she concluded, even as she expressed great joy that the Iraq PM had finally declared NoRooz as a National Holiday after centuries!