On Sunday April 1st, 2012, The Assyrian ChaldeanSyriac Student Union (ACSSU) of Canada along with many other Assyrian organizations gathered at Edessa Banquet Centre, Toronto to celebrate the Assyrian Babylonian New Year 6762 marking almost the 7th millennium of the Assyrian people. The event began with a parade where members from our community walked from Albion Mall, Toronto to Edessa Banquet Centre. We then continued our celebration with guest speakers, authentic food, music and Assyrian folk dances performed in our traditional clothing. It was an enjoyable day that attracted over a thousand people from all around the GTA and Hamilton area. The Assyrian New Year is celebrated annually on April 1st and is called Akitu in ancient Assyrian and KhaB’Nisan in modern Assyrian. Historically, Akitu marks the first day of spring and is celebrated by Assyrians around the world with parties, parades and many other ceremonies held in honour of the event. The festival is a great opportunity to showcase Assyrian traditions and educate other communities about our heritage and preserve our rich culture. The Assyrian New Year marks the beginning of new and rejuvenated life, the ancient festivities known as the Akitu festival celebrated life and the renewal of life as a divine gift. The earth during the beginning of spring demonstrates the revitalization of God’s creation and the resurgence of nature; the earth is marked with fertility and all of life comes back again with a renewed vigor and almost a recreation of the earth and nature itself. This resurgence of new life is prophetic of the renewal of the Assyrian people, their present existence and understanding of their past, and a renewed hope for the future. Akitu is one of the oldest recorded festivals in the world, and is the most important national festival, celebrated for several millennia throughout ancient Mesopotamia.
We are a thriving nation happy to celebrate not only the New Year but to commemorate our history and the fact that our nation has survived countless persecutions and continues to give witness to its vitality and its strong will to survive. The Akitu festival has continued for centuries and not only in Assyrian Babylon but also throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, to this date Akitu is celebrated throughout the world. In the Diaspora our nation struggles to preserve its heritage, history, culture and language. Though our Assyrian people are scattered around the world without a proper homeland to call their own our nation continues to live within our hearts.
ACSSU would like to personally thank Honourable Judy Sgro, MP, York West, for attending our New Year celebration and for her warm wishes!