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Australia, Fairfield: Kha B'Nesan - Akitu - Assyrian New Year Festival 6762

April 1, 2012

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 03:56 PM UT | Updated: April 07, 2012.

AANF and AUA Press Release | AUA Press Release | Photographs | Australia Parliament



This year the New Year Festival will be aired live by M1 Media Production on the following link:

The Assyrian Australian National Federation (“AANF”) together with the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA),  will be hosting this year’s Assyrian New Year Festival on Sunday, 1st April 2012, at Fairfield Showground. The Festival will start at 10:00 am till 10:00 pm.

The official opening will commence at 2:30 pm. Like every other year, a large number of people are expected to attend including officials from Local, State and Federal Government.  Also included will be representatives from the vast majority of the Assyrian and other community organisations in Sydney.  A variety of poetry, traditional dancing, songs and speeches will be delivered.

For the second  successive year, an Ancient Assyrian art exhibition  will be organised by the Young Assyrians , youth of the Assyrian Universal Alliance , displaying samples of  Ancient decoded reliefs; Shedding  Light on the ancientAssyrian Empire which was one of many opulent cultures that flourished in that part of the world in antiquity.

Many other activities will be performed including a drama from the Ancient Assyrian history. It will be played by a group of the Assyrian Youth which resembles the King and Queen of Assyria coming from the remote past to bless the festivity which is scheduled to be played at around 6:00 pm, there will be something for everyone and every age; Great Assyrian music entertained by well known Assyrian singers all day supported with non-stop traditional dancing from the audience, great food, great displays, great games and fun for the kids and a spectacular Firework show at 9:00 pm. It will be a great location for a family festival.

Assyrian New Year Festival in Australia

aua logo



Member, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)


Sydney – 4 April, 2012


Once again the Assyrian Australian National Federation (AANF) together with the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) hosted one of the most successful Assyrian New Year Festivals in the last seven years where an enormous number of people gathered at Fairfield showground to ring in the Assyrian New Year. The Festival started at 10:00 am till 10:00 pm.  

Even the clear blue skies soon turned grey and a storm swept through just after midday, it did not dampen the spirits of the festival goers, as they danced the day and night away with performances by an array of singers and live bands.

The formal proceedings began with the Mayor of Fairfield City, Councillor Frank Carbone, officially opening the Assyrian Art Exhibition at 2:15pm. The customary New Year Program commenced at 2:30 pm. with the Australian and Assyrian national anthems performed by Miss Jessica Ablahad, followed by prayer by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia. A minutes silence was then observed in memory of a patriotic Assyrian, Mr. Nenos Nissan, who passed away on Saturday 24, 2012. The late Nenos joined the Assyrian Universal Alliance- Australian Chapter (AUA) in 1980 and subsequently held consecutive responsibilities in the Leadership of this chapter. He was a loyal and committed members, who won the respect and love of all those who were fortunate to know him and work with him.

After welcoming the attendees, the Master of ceremonies Miss Edora David, invited Mr. David M. David, President of the Assyrian Australia National Federation to welcome the attendees, followed by Councilor Frank Carbone, Mayor of Fairfield City. Next,  Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General  of the Assyrian Universal Alliance delivered his address, in which he thanked the representatives of the Local, State and Federal Government for their full cooperation with the Assyrian Universal Alliance. He spoke about the bitter genocide committed against the Assyrians by the Ottomans during WWI that has left deep marks in the hearts and mind of every Assyrian. The cold-hearted murder of 750,000 defenseless Assyrian souls reduced the Assyrian mass, impacting the whole nation dramatically. Besides losing about three quarters of their population, the genocide has resulted in the loss of Assyrian historical lands in today’s south-east Turkey, caused the scattering of the Assyrian people and has negatively impacted the economic well-being of all Assyrians. Mr. Shahen also talked about the future of Syria’s estimated 2.5 million Christians who have traditionally prospered in that country and the uncertainty they now face. Further to that, Mr. Shahen highlighted the fact that the well-being of thousands of Iraqi Assyrians who had sought sanctuary in Syria is now in risk. He added “Although Assyrians have no material role in the political affairs of these countries, we continue to be the ultimate victims of their turmoil, paying the highest price”.

Mr. Shahen appealed to the Australian government to lay out a comprehensive strategy for assisting the Assyrians and other ethno-religious minorities of Iraq who are facing a systematic campaign of massacre and destruction. He stated that the international community has an opportunity to effect a positive change in our favour. Our people in Iraq are demanding a province in the Nineveh Plains, the heartland of the Assyrian empire, under similar political and human rights measures enjoyed by the country’s Arabs and Kurds. This province will be under the jurisdiction of Iraq’s central government, both contributing to and benefiting from the economic prosperity of the country. This will encourage our people to remain on and persuade the displaced and refugees to return to their ancestral lands.

Other noted speakers were the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Minister of Immigration, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, representing The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition; Mr. Chris Hayes MP: Member for Fowler; Mr. Craig Kelly MP; Federal member for Hughes Mr. Andrew Rohan MP , Member for Smithfield representing the Premier of NSW , the Hon. Barry O'Farrell, MP, and the Hon Victor Dominello, MP. Minister for Citizenship and Communities, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Mr Guy Zangari, MP, Member for Fairfield and The Hon. David Clarke MLC.

All members praised in their speeches the role of the Assyrian Universal Alliance in its continued deliberations and meetings with the Australian government. They talked about the inevitability of the Assyrian people to obtain their full rights and freedom in Iraq promising to support the measure and to support the recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek, Genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1914. They blessed this great occasion, showed their admiration of the Assyrian Art Exhibition and expressed pride in the Assyrian civilization.

Mr. Ninos Aaron Chairman of the Young Assyrian a subsidiary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australian Chapter spoke about their group activities since their establishment in July last year and encouraged our Assyrian youth to participate in their efforts and activities.

Miss Ninva Yakou, Master of Teaching, at University of Western Sydney, briefed the audience about this festival and its historical background. She thanked the Australian government for the freedom and liberty that is provided to all cultures to prosper in this land of freedom.

Two awards were granted this year in recognition of service to the Assyrian community. First, the Youth of the Year Award, selected at the Assyrian Universal Alliance 28 world congress, was presented to Mr. Paul Azzo for his dedication, advice and outstanding lobbying efforts to promote the Assyrian cause and for being one of the driving forces behind the success of the Assyrian New Year Festival.

The Second Award was presented by the Assyrian Universal Alliance - Australian chapter to Mrs. Carmen Lazar, People of Australia Ambassador and Principal of the Assyrian Diglat School of the Assyrian Australian Association,  in recognition of her outstanding contribution and significant role in organising school activities for the last seven consecutive Assyrian New Year Festivals in Sydney, and for years of devotion to community work, teaching the Assyrian language and for her substantial efforts in preserving the Assyrian culture.

There were many winners of the lucky door prizes which included, a holiday for two people, a 55 inch LG plasma TV, one year’s worth of car washes, one year’s gym membership and a tablet.

At 6:00 pm, a dramatic arts piece titled “The Sacred Marriage” was performed by a collaboration of Assyrian youth groups. The theatrical piece simulated the arrival of the King and Queen of Assyria from the remote past to bless the festivity.

The Festival ended with a beautiful display of Fireworks at 9:00 pm accompanied with live music.

A special thanks to the organisers, the Fairfield police and all attendees who made this festival such a success.

Hermiz Shahen
Assyrian Universal Alliance, Australia Chapter

Assyrian New Year Festival

Mr. Guy Zangari, Australia Member of Parliament
Australia Parliament, Legislative Assembly - April 3, 2012 - Private Members Statements, PRIV

Page: 10558

Mr GUY ZANGARI (Fairfield) [7.05 p.m.]: On Sunday 1 April 2012 I attended the Assyrian New Year Festival at the Fairfield Showground to commemorate the beginning of the 6,762nd year in the Assyrian calendar. The Assyrian New Year Festival is a major event on the Fairfield calendar and is well attended not only by Assyrians, but also by the wider Fairfield community. To provide an indication of the magnitude of this event, the Fairfield showground was completely transformed with an Ancient Assyrian art exhibition; a massive staged area for musicians, singers and dancers; amusement rides; Assyrian food stalls; market stalls; a wrestling ring, which was a favourite of the kids and older kids at heart; and a dignitaries table, which seated 60 special guests. The spirituality of the Assyrian community was present with His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, leading the proceedings with an opening prayer offering thanks to the Lord and blessing the Assyrian community in Australia and around the world.

Fairfield festivals usually are big and the Assyrian New Year celebrations certainly lived up to that reputation. The Assyrian community is held in such regard that the festival was well attended by Federal, State and local government representatives. If I were to name all those representatives, I would have no more time remaining to speak in this private member's statement. The clear theme from the speeches of the dignitaries fortunate to address the large gathering brought to light the plight of Assyrians in the Middle East today, the human rights abuses towards Assyrians' diaspora and the conditions Assyrian refugees face in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. The speeches touched also on the recognition of atrocities inflicted upon Assyrian people in their ancient homelands early in the twentieth century. These events, which took place so many years ago, and the failure of governments to acknowledge the atrocities that were committed, shape the identity and plight of Assyrians today, including those who now call Australia home.

The ancient celebration of the new year is called Akitu by Assyrians and lasts 12 days. In the old Assyrian calendar the Assyrian year began on the vernal equinox, which falls on 21 March in the Gregorian calendar. April is the first month of the Assyrian year, which is called Nissan. Today's Assyrians mark 1 April as the beginning of the new year, and that is aligned with the Gregorian calendar. This tradition has survived the millennia and has been adopted by various cultures that have lived contemporaneously with Assyrians and by those who inherited the tradition of the ancient Assyrian homeland. During the opening ceremony two unique individuals were presented with community awards: Mrs Carmen Lazar and Mr Paul Azzo. Both were acknowledged for their tireless work raising awareness, promoting culture and organising school-based activities surrounding Assyrian traditions. Congratulations to Mrs Lazar and Mr Azzo on their community advocacy work.

Whilst there was much celebration, there was also a level of sadness for the sudden passing of Mr Nenos Nissan, the Assyrian Australian National Federation Secretary. Mr Nissan passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning 24 March. His passing has left a gaping hole in the community. Mr Nissan was a wonderful advocate for the Assyrian community here in Australia and abroad. It was a difficult week for the organisers leading up to the event as Mr Nissan was laid to rest on 28 March 2012.

On behalf of the Fairfield community and the members of this Chamber I extend sincere condolences to the Nissan family. Our prayers and thoughts are with them during this time of sorrow. I would like to express my gratitude to the Assyrian Australian National Federation and the Assyrian Universal Alliance for organising a great festival. In particular I would like to express my gratitude to Mr David David, Mr Hermiz Shahen and the wonderful committee that worked for months planning the festival. I am very proud of the Assyrian community in Fairfield and look forward to sharing many more achievements with them.

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