Mission: to preserve the Yezidi faith and empower the Yezidi people all around the world through selfless service.

Yezidis calendar is filled with holidays and festivals. Sometimes, Yezidis celebrate holidays that are celebrated by the people they are surrounded by. This is partly due to their belief that all religions are to be respected. For example, in USA many Yezidis celebrate  Thanksgiving Day and some even decorate their houses with Christmas trees and lights during Christmas. Yezidis worldwide participate in celebration of the New Year even-though their own new year,known as Ser Sal, falls in April. Sometimes, Yezidis have adopted holidays as well as costumes of others as a protection mechanism. They have faced many genocides and have a long dark history because they are a minority group and are a distinct religious ethnic group

 Some of Yezidis Holidays and Festivals:

  •  Ser Sal or Charshma Sere Nissana
  • Parade of the Sanjaq Event
  • Jamayi (Eda Hechiya) October 6th-13th
  • Roji and Eda Rojiet Ezi (Fasting and Feast of Ezi)
  • Batzmi

 

Part II of the Yezidi New Year: Parade of the Sanjaq

One of the most important events of the Yezidi New Year is the Parade of the Sanjaqs or Parade of the Peacock. Bronze lamps surmounted with peacocks are taken from their normal home, the residence of the Yezidi Prince, and are paraded through many of the Yezidi villages. The Sanjaqs, which came from the Yezidi homeland of India, are the most precious sacred objects among the Yezidi. Originally there were seven Sanjaqs, one for each of the Seven Sacred Angels, but five were taken in 1892 by the Turkish Muslims. Of the two remaining Sanjaqs, the largest and most sacred one is the Sheikhani Sanjaq, the Sanjaq directly associated with Tawsi Melek. The two Sanjaqs are taken in procession to the Yezidi villages by the qewels, who then remain in each village for one night while giving discourses to the inhabitants on Yezidi spirituality.

Roji and Eda Rojiet Ezi (Yezidi Fasting)

The Three Day Fast of December is one all Yezidis are expected to observe. Fasting occurs from dawn until sunset, and the nights are given to feasting, merry making and some prayer. This is also the time for fasting in other ancient traditions, time to connect with the divine, celebrate and pray for world peace. Time to connect with our neighbors and the global village we live in.

As for the Eda Rojiet Ezi or Feast of “Ezi or the Almighty” , it falls on Friday after three days of fast according to oriental calendar. in 2015, the holiday fell on December 18th.

The Yezidis have a calendar which is around 7000 yrs old.  Yezidis have been subjected to 74 genocides in history and lately at the hands of ISIS. Despite all odds Yezidis survive till this date with the message of peace and universal wellbeing for all of humanity.

A proper way to wish others happy holiday at this time would be to say
Eida Rojiet Ezi – Feast of Ezi (name of the holiday)
Eida Wa  Piroze Be – Happy Holidays to you all

 

Batzmi

Wearing the Tausi Melek thread on wrest. This thread is prayed and blessed in Iraq. The red thread is for the heart which is love and the white thread is for Purity which is peace.

Batzmi-Yezidi Holiday

Eida Batzmi

Eida Batzmia or Eida Piralli is one of the Yezidis many holidays. Yezidis are known as the worshipers of Sun (Roj Pars). Sun along with fire plays a large role in their rituals, festivals, and holidays. In addition number 7 plays a role representing the 7 angels. A small group of Yezidis, Yezidi a Chelkiy, celebrate Batzmi. They can be pirs or murids. Although it’s Chelkiya’ holiday, other Yezidis visit them and participate in the 7 day holiday in different ways.

The largest group of Yezidis who observe this holiday were originally from Turkey. They became scattered all over the world due to forced conversions and persecution throughout 1800s and early 1900s. Historically, just like Sinjar, Turkey was an ancestral land to many Yezidis. Today, there are less than 423 Yezidi residents there. Yezidism was the official religion of Jazra, a principality of Turkey during Ottoman Empire.

There is a large number of Yezidi a Chelkiy in Syria and there are some in Iraq who also observe this holiday.

It is believed that Tawsi Melek, the Peacock Angel, appeared to this group of Yezidis in form of Piralli. Thus, Piralli is manifestation of Tawsi Melek. When Piralli  came to this group, he spent 7 days among them and in turn they became people of Tawsi Melek (Bona Melet a Tawsi Melek). Batzmi festival is about celebration of being people of Tawsi Melek

Batzmi Festival

Batzmi is  a 7 day holiday and the actual celebration falls on the last Wednesday of December; thus making the holiday fall between the old and the new year. However, Yezidis in diaspora sometimes choose to celebrate it a week earlier due to work and school.

Monday: Day one of Roji (fasting)

Tuesday: Day two of fasting. cleaning and Nan a mrya (giving of food in honor of the deceased) takes place today.

Wednesday:  one of the most important days of this holiday.  There is a half day fast which is followed by lighting 7 chera (wick). Later in the day, a sheep or more is sacrificed and 7 Pare or pieces of meat are put away in the name of the 7 angels (mlyakat). The 7 pare include the 7 joints of the spin, the neck, 7 ribs on the right, the upper part of chest, and one of the legs on the right is cut into 3 parts making it a total of 7 pare or pieces

The Batzmi’s special food is also prepared for the first time in the week. This meal would continue being prepared throughout the rest of the holiday in large amounts. However, on Wednesday the meal  includes 7 Sawgs (a special bread made round with shape of Sun on it). Simata Piralli a special soup made only at this time and has stayed the same for centuries. Basmbar is made today.  This is red and white which is prayed upon as it is being spanned.Batzmi thread Basmbar

Thursday Night:  is the night of  Shav Baratk . Yezidi community gathers at the house of those observing Batzmi till sunrise. Since Yezidism is an oral tradition, times like Shav Baratk use to play a large role in affirmation of identity and learning about ones faith and history while being entertained.  Shav Baratk is a night full of fun, passing of knowledge, and eating.

In modern day and in diaspora, celebrating Batzmi is a bit more difficult. In there ancestral land, there would be communal gathering of common people, Yezidi Qewals or bards, and religious leaders. Part of the night would be spent reciting Yezidi qewals, hymns, and epics.

To keep the followers awake, there were many opportunities of entertainment. This would be a time of service,  so bands would offer play music to entertain the crowds who would gather for outdoor dancing. This would be followed by Karaoke and playing old games of Gostelgyy.

In addition, Galeg would be made. This is where an older man dresses in a scary way sometimes toward middle of night around one o’clock. A bulky man is usually chosen to cover himself in skin of the goat—dark coated one. He covers his face with black makeup and wanders around with a stick in his hand frightening the followers. Another one dresses as the bride. The sight of Galeg  wandering and pretending to strike the fire in the fire pit and playfully strike people around, would scare many of the observers awake. He would continue to proceed  and becomes especially frightening when his bride would be stolen from him.

Games, communal dancing and festivity goes on until sunrise. From there people wish the host happy holiday and depart.

Friday:  this is a day of resting after a full night of entertaining; however, people come to visit the house of those who make Batzmi for prayer, to get Basmbar thread, and to kiss the Barats. Barats are small balls made of earth from the sanctuary of Sheikh Adi and the water of the Zemzem spring. They are regarded as sacred and are distributed to the pilgrims at the time of the festivals. They get served Sawgs and Simat

Saturday: prepare for Ser Sal or the new year, continue serving the visitors Batzmi meal. The Chera continue being lit. Those who visit leave some money as a token of the service the host had performed and take some of the sacred Basmbar that is worn on their wrist or neck.

Sunday: this is the last day and it is only in the morning.  Sunday morning is considered Ser Sal and the beginning of the new year. Tashtya Sheshms (Breakfast of Sheshms is prepared and those who visit eat. It is in honor of Sheykh Shems, one of the reincarnations of 7 angels who is associated with Sun/

Common way to wish the observer of this holiday a happy holiday is: Ser Sal a wa o Batzmiye wa Piroze be/Happy New Year and Batzmi

 

 

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Jamaya

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Jamayi (Eda Hechiya)

The Gathering and Feast of Seven Days, known as the Jamayi and referred to as ziyaret, “the pilgrimage”, lasts seven days between October 6th 
and the 13th of October. It is a sacred time when all Yezidis attempt to make the pilgrimage to Lalish in order to to unite as one people at their holiest shrine.

Prevailing belief has it that there is an upper or heavenly Lalish where the Seven Great Angels gather at this time to shower there blessings on those assembled at the lower or worldly Lalish. Throughout the week-long event friendships are rekindled and important meetings take place among the Yezidi leaders, with both the Mir and Baba Sheikh in attendance.

The two most important events of the Feast of Seven Days are the Evening Dance and the Sacrifice of the Bull. The Evening Dance is performed by religious dignitaries every evening just after sunset in the court of the Sanctuary. Fourteen, or twice seven, men dressed in white, the color of purity, step to the music of qewels. They proceed in procession around a sacred torch that represents both the Sun and the Supreme God.. They are led in this walk by the head of the Faqirs, who is dressed in a black fur cape and conical hat. These are very sacred articles allegedly once worn by Sheikh Adi himself.

The Sacrifice of the Bull takes place on the 5th day of the week-long event. It signals the arrival of Fall and carries with it the Yezidis’ prayers for rain during the coming winter and a bountiful Spring. After guards fire a special gun salute, a small bull bursts forth from the main gates of the Sanctuary. The bull is chased by men of the Qaidy tribe up a hill to the Sanctuary of Shiekh Shem. Here the bull is caught and slaughtered. Afterwards, the meat is cooked and distributed among all the pilgrims present at Lalish.

During the week there are also continual baptisms of children and holy objects in the water of the White Spring. The silk cloths that represent the seven angels and normally cover their tombs in the Sanctuary are also re-baptized for the coming year. The final rite is the baptism of the “Throne of Shiekh Adi.” This is a wooden object resembling a funeral cot and covered with red silk. It is also baptized in the White Spring.

Yezidi holiday at Lalish

 

Ser Sal or Charshma Sere Nissana

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 The Yezidi New year and its connections with other ancient civilizations

Courtesy :World Hindu News by By Nallein Satana Al-Jilwah Sowilo

The Yezidis celebrate their New Year, Sera Sal i.e. the Head of the Year, with great fanfare. Sera Sal falls on Wednesday in the month of April and is also known as Red Wednesday. This commemorates the day when Tausi Malek, the Peacock Angel, came to Earth for the first time, millions of years ago.  Tausi Malek calmed the planet earth by spreading his peacock wings of rainbow colors and blessed the entire world. One of the key feature of Yezidi New Year celebration is the coloring of eggs, a tradition that can be traced back to ancient Sumerian and Babylonian celebration of spring festival of Ishtar. These colored eggs are the symbolic representation of Tausi Malek’s  rainbow colors that he is believed to have used for blessing the earth with fertility, hence, the rebirth of the spring season. The eggs are painted red, blue, green, and yellow. The womenfolk’s decorate their homes by placing red flowers and colored egg shells on top of their front doors so that Tausi Malek can recognize their abode for the blessings.

The Yezidi calendar is dated to be 6764 years old, therefore, it has its origin about 4764 years before the arrival of Christianity and more than 5000 years before the arrival of Islam. On this particular day, at dawn, women dress up in colorful clothing’s and go to the nearby cemeteries with pots of dishes, candies, lamps and other offerings for the dead and fairies which are said to return to earth on Sere Sal. These offerings include oranges, apples, dates, colored eggs etc. The graves gets transformed into banquets for the spirits that return to their graves, and the offerings are made. Women take to singing and dancing with dehol (drum) and zorna (shawm). Table clothes are spread around on the ground in between the graves and women proceed to feast upon variety of offerings. Also, Red flowers are plastered on doors so the Peacock angel could recognize his people. The color red represents sacrifice which is demanded of all Yezidis.

At Lalish, the place where the holy temple for the Yezidis are located,  a bonfire is lit to welcome Tausi Melek. The fire is the divine source of God and Sun. Eggs are boiled to represent how earth was liquid and then got solidified with the coming of Lalish. Marriage is forbidden during the month of April while the earth springs to life. Also forgiveness take place at this time. Many who have been enemies reconcile with mediation by a priest or friend for the sake of the New Year.

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Decorating the Homes for Holidays

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On Charshma Nissani, Which is the Yezidi New Year, Yezidis have a  tradition

Bunches of red flowers, particularly wild red anemones, which abound in the neighborhood of Sinjar are picked. A little paste is made and the shells from colored eggs are taken as well and used to plaster these red flowers on doorways of  the houses. It is done so the Peacock Angel (Tawuse Melek) could recognize his people.

The flowers are also brought by people to the tomb of their saint and fastened or stuck near its entrance. These are left until they fall.

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