Charshama Sur, or the Ezidis New Year, is one of oldest ceremonies for the Ezidis. It is celebrated annually on second Wednesday of April. Charshama Sur, translated as Red Wednesday, is a sacred day and widely celebrated by the Yezidis.
April for Yezidis
Yezidis believe April is a scared month and is called the bride of the year. Second Wednesday of April marks the day Melek Taws, or the Peacock Angle, descended on earth. He brought grace and mercy to humanity and the nature was flourished with beauty.
“Charshama” The sacred day
According to Ezidi Religion, Friday is the day God started creating the universe, but Wednesday is the day it was completed. Yezidis follow Julian calendar which is 13 days different to Georgian Calendar.
How the ceremony begins
On the eve of Charshama Sur the families boil eggs and color them. They light 365 candles in Lalish Temple On Wednesday. They decorate their houses with red roses, which many believe is the reason behind the name of Red Wednesday. Eggs symbolize earth and the coloring is a wish for a joyous year.
The families then visit each other. Muslim families usually visit their Ezidi neighbors to congratulate them on their feast. Later in the day, different traditional games are played. The first activity of the New Year starts with torching a fire by Baba Sheikh in Lalish. Then they light the 365 candles which symbolize the days of the year.
The fire and the candles are believed to keep all the days of the year out of evil spirits. Chashama Sur is an official holiday in Kurdistan Region, the only government to mark it as an official holiday.
There are no accurate figures of Ezidi religion followers. However it is estimated at 600 thousand people. Roughly 4000 Ezidis live on refugee camps at the moment, and more than 100 thousand people have fled Iraq and Kurdistan Region especially after ISIS’s attack on Sinjar back in August 2014. In the attack 6500 girls, women and children were kidnapped by ISIS.