On the occasion of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, the KRG Representation and the Iraqi Embassy in Austria, on Thursday 20 March, together hosted an evening reception for the diplomatic corps as well as members of the local Austrian, Kurdish and Iraqi communities at the Grand Hotel in Vienna.
More than 300 guests enjoyed musical performances by the Vienna-based international Kurdish band Roja as well as a visual presentation showcasing the culture and landscape of the Kurdistan Region. Officials of the Austrian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs, members of the Austrian Parliament as well as representatives of Austrian businesses, media and the academic community were among the guests that welcomed the New Year.
Commenting on the increasing number of international guests at this year’s event, Dr. Mustafa Ramazan, Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq to Austria, said “I am pleased that many of our old and new friends are able to join us here tonight to welcome the Kurdish New Year. Many nations around the world are celebrating and I wish all of them a happy Newroz.”
The reception was also attended by the ambassadors of Jordan, Kuwait, Poland, Turkey, Venezuela, and Yemen, representatives of the diplomatic missions of Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the international organisations IAEA, OPEC and the United Nations.
Dr. Surood Najib, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Austria, added, “Newroz can be a happy and at the same time sad occasion for the Kurdish population and the people in and outside Iraq. It is time to turn the page of sorrow and to continue with the page of happiness for the generation to come who we rely on to build Iraq and the society of Kurdistan on the great foundation of love, forgiveness and happiness. This is a challenge, but we are ready to face it.”
Newroz, which means “new day”, is celebrated by over 200 million people worldwide. Falling on the first day of spring, it has come to symbolize peace, freedom, tolerance and renewal, but for the Kurds it also holds a further significance. According to Kurdish myth, it was on Newroz that a Kurdish blacksmith defeated the tyrannical king Zuhak, thus freeing the Kurdish people from oppression.