Article by Karolina Vakula, the Center for Dialogue & Conflict Transformation Intern
On April 5, the Public Theology Forum organized an event celebrating Yazidi New Year at LCC International University hosted by the Center for Dialogue & Conflict Transformation. It was the first of 3 evenings on Fasting and Feasting. A monotheistic faith, the aim of the event was to familiarize students with the way Yazidis celebrate New Year. Speakers at the event were 2 students from Iraq, Khalid Kaso and Marwan Tamo, who talked about the holiday.
Yazidi New Year is usually celebrated on April 21st. The Yazidis are an ethnically Kurdish religious community, originally from Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Marwan mentioned that some traditions have changed over time. Nowadays, the Yazidi community believes in one God and that everything is created by it. They also believe that there are angels who care for the world and in reconciliation. What is different about Yazidis is that they do not have and do not believe that there were any prophets or apostles. The main activity of the Yazidi New Year is egg painting. Dyed eggs symbolize nature and prosperity. Participants of the event also had a chance to paint eggs and then play an egg fight.
At the end of the event, Khalid and Marwan sang an Iraqi song. 3 students shared what they enjoyed most about the event and what they learned. Anna Bakalemwa shared, “something that I learned is that the Yazidi faith is 7000 years old.”
For Nadiye Alizade, one of the highlights was “music, as they used it as worship.” She has never heard about their faith before and learned that “Yazidi is an ancient religion, and it still continues.” Lonneke Tijhof mentioned that “the highlight of the event was to see people come together with respect for each other’s religion and experience the whole other culture.” All 3 students admitted having enjoyed painting eggs.
Public Theology Forum exists to invite our diverse community - a cultural and religious mosaic - into a conversation, moving toward reconciliation and transformation in our lives together and for society, as we seek to foster understanding and offer time for dialogues that heal divisions, strengthen relationships, and help us be a community of faith embracing diversity.
The following is these students in the second photo: Khairi Nayif, Kendra Stone, Jaspar Wandtke.