Culture

Iraqi Kurdistan: Yazidis Celebrate Jamayi Holiday in Lalish

Iraq

Yazidis are celebrating the Jamayi (Eda Hechiya) holiday, which lasts for seven days between 6 October and 13 October, involving a pilgrimage to Lalish.

During this period, Yazidis set off on a pilgrimage to their most holy site, Lalish. The most notable events that take place during the festivities include the Feast of Seven Days are the Evening Dance and the Sacrifice of the Bull.

“Every day, a group of preachers performs special ceremonies after sunset called Jamayi Ceremonies. Also, there is Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and a special religious dance called Govend which is performed with religious music. On the fourth day, there are special ceremonies called the inauguration of Bariat, seven coloured cloths symbolizing the seven angels. On the fifth day, the Yazidis offer a calf as a sacrifice to God and pray that this year there will be snow and rain because most of the region’s inhabitants work in agriculture”, explained Luqman Suleyman, an official from Lalish.

The pilgrimage to Lalish provides an opportunity for Yazidis to gather in one place and reinforce their communal bonds through the practice of their religious ceremonies.

“People come to this feast to gather, know more, do good, love, and pray. We call on Iraq and Iraqis to be blessed and we congratulate all Yazidis in Iraq and the world on this holiday. We also pray that everyone enjoys happiness, security, goodness, and love”, commented Falih Hasan, a professor of religion.

The Yazidis of Iraq were subject to heinous crimes in recent years committed by ISIS. The terrorist group considered Yazidis a heretical sect and discriminated them severely, having committed the Sinjar massacre, recognised by some as a genocide, engaged in a sex slave trade of Yazidi women, and kidnapped thousands of Yazidi children to indoctrinate them in their totalitarian ideology and use them as military fodder.

The public celebration of Yazidi cultural and religious traditions represents a significant aspect of the freedom experienced by people who have been liberated from the rule of ISIS thanks to the military efforts of the Iraqi Security Forces and its allies.