The diverse population of Mosul unite to celebrate the Spring Festival in defiance of ISIS' former rule of terror. This is the first time Moslawi's celebrate this occasion since the liberation of their city from ISIS in late-2017.
Since the liberation of Mosul in July 2017, the residents of the city have been celebrating the victory over ISIS on multiple occasions. As life gradually returns to the city, Moslawis celebrate the various festivals that they missed during their time under ISIS control. Amongst these celebrations were the Yazidi New Years, Assyrian New Year, Ramadan, and the Spring Festival that Mosul is known for.
The city of Mosul has been given the nickname ‘Um al Rabee’ayn’ or the “City of Two Springs” for its moderate ‘spring-like’ temperatures during Spring and Autumn. Across many cultures, the arrival of spring has always signaled a period of celebration as it signifies the start of new life.
For Mosul, the arrival of Spring 2018 signals the literal celebration of a new life to their city after it was liberated from ISIS’ presence. Citizens across different faith and ethnic backgrounds came together during the Spring Festival in Mosul. “The Festival unites all the Iraqi factions, as it unites the Arabs and Yazidis, Kurds and Christians in Mosul,” said an attendee.
The festival included various exhibitions, galleries and activities for attendees to enjoy. Historically, since 1969, the city of Mosul has held a Spring Festival to celebrate the city’s historical and cultural heritage. However, during various periods the festival has come to a halt due to security concerns.
This year marks the return of the festival after four years of ISIS’ threat. “The festival has not taken place over four years, but today it has taken place and there are many activities” said another attendee. The attendees thanked the Iraqi Security Forces and the PMU for their efforts in liberating their city.
Since the liberation, citizens and volunteers have begun rehabilitation efforts to resume life to Mosul and rebuild its destroyed infrastructure. Many initiatives to rebuild homes, clean up rubble, and strengthen the city’s cultural heritage have taken place.
The Iraqi Government estimates that the city will need ten years to return to what it was before.
Nonetheless, the people of Mosul celebrate the new beginnings that they have been given after the militant group that terrorised them for four years was removed from the city.