Written by Homer Ashurian
April 1st is the Assyrian New Year. It is the most important national festival handed down thru history from the remote past. The Assyrians of today all over the world celebrate this day as their national festival. Before Assyrians embraced Christianity in the first century A.D., and according to the ancient calendar, the New Year was celebrated on what would be the 21st of March. This date then and as it does now is the very beginning of spring. Centuries before the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BC when its power and civilization spread all over the Middle East, other nations like Medes, Persians, and Arabs adopted and celebrated the 21st of March as the New Year for all the ancient world. After the Assyrians converted to Christianity in the first century and the Gregorian calendar was established in the Christian world,Assyrians also accepted the new calendar and moved their New Year from March 21st to April 1st. Today Iranians and people of Iraq (Arabs and Kurds) today celebrate this day on March 21st. In Iran the New Years Day is called “NoRuz” meaning “New Day”.
Written by Emanuel Y. Kamber, Ph.D.
It was the tradition of our ancestors, the inhabitants of Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia), to celebrate the New Year annually on the first day of Nissan (April), a celebration of revival and renewal of nature. This was one of the most important religious and national celebrations held in Bet-Nahrain [1-3].
These celebrations originated from two myths, the myth of creation and the myth of Ishtar and Tammuz, which were revered by the inhabitants of Bet-Nahrain. In Babylon the myth of creation assumed central importance owing to the fact that it became associated with the great Babylonian new year or Akitu Festival , and was embodied in liturgical form in the poem or chant known for its opening words ENUMA ELISH "When on high" . In this form of the myth the Babylonian god Marduk plays the principal part. The German excavation of the site of Ashur, the old capital of the Assyrian empire, brought to light the Assyrian version of the "ENUMA ELISH", in which the name of the Babylonian god Marduk was replaced by the name of Ashur, the Chief god of Assyria.