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AKITU - Assyrian New Year in Sydney
by Majidi Ann
Posted: Monday, February 19, 2001 11:47 am CST



On the 1st day of April, thousands of Assyrian Australians will be celebrating Akitu (Assyrian New Year) – commonly referred to in Syriac as “Kha B’Neesan or “Ha D’Nison”. This ancient celebration traces its roots back almost 7000 years to a time where the polytheistic Assyrians celebrated one of the earliest documented rituals of welcoming spring and its harvests in their ancestral homeland (Mesopotamia). The coming of spring represented the annual revival of all life from the harsh and bitter winters. It also is a symbol of the creation myth, where the whole universe came into existence.

Today, their mostly Christianised and Westernised Assyrian descendants still celebrate this festival, not bearing as much religious significance as much as being an ode to their ancestors’ traditions. Festivals such as this one encourage a deeper sense of cultural awareness, pride of an ancient inherited identity, the upkeeping of an endangered Semitic language, as well as an opportunity for the entire local and wider community to join the Assyrians to dance, give thanks and enjoy.

This year’s festival will be held at the Fairfield Showground (Smithfield Road) as part of a daylong dance and family fun festival. All members of the greater Australian multi-cultural community are welcomed to join us on Sunday April 1st 2001 (Assyrian year 6751) to partake in a rare glimpse of ancient and modern day music, art, food and culture.

The festival will include large outdoor dance party featuring live band performances, singers, dance troupes and DJ’s. The family festivities include games, fun rides, face painting, fairies, drama performances, costume parades, choirs, information stalls, markets, fireworks and an international food hall, to only list a few.

Akitu is organised by a network of Assyrian young people keen to keep the traditions of Assyrian culture and heritage alive and well in a modern day Australian setting. The wider Assyrian Community (almost 20,000 people in NSW alone) is proud to present this very special event, and invites all Australians, young and old to share in such an exciting and inspiring cultural exchange.

Tickets can be bought at the door for $10 a person, or $20 for a family of 4. Children under 5 years of age are admitted free of charge.

For any more information OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED please do not hesitate to contact Majidi Ann on 0404-124-930 or Nina on 0414-940-423. See you there!

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