Syriac Union Party in Syria releases statement to mark Akitu following the cancellation of public celebrations due to coronavirus

ZALIN (QAMISHLII), Syria – Over the weekend, the decision was made by all Syriac political parties and institutions to cancel this year’s celebration of Akitu (New Year – 6770), which falls on 1 April, to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Akitu, celebrated by Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian (CSA) people around the world, is marked by public gatherings in the countryside in a celebration of the fertility and renewal of nature in Spring.

Co-Chair of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria Mr. Sanharib Barsoum, confirmed the cancellation of Akitu celebrations this year in an interview with North Press Agency.

“These precautionary measures come under the instructions of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) in North and East Syria, as well as in all over Syria, in order to tackle the spread of the coronavirus epidemic,” Barsoum said.

“Assyrian Chaldean Syriac people used to celebrate Akitu New Year annually,” said Daoud Daoud, President of the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) to North Press Agency. “This year, Akitu celebrations were canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic which invaded the world and threatened all the countries.”

The SUP issued a statement, congratulating the CSA across the world in general, and in Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) in particular, as it is the birthplace of the CSA people and their culture.

The SUP statement mentioned the pioneering role of the people of Beth Nahrin who enriched the world with science, knowledge, culture, and civilization. Akitu is considered one of the oldest continued celebrations in human history, celebrated on a yearly basis for millennia.

The SUP also stressed its support for a political solution to the Syrian crisis that respects all the countries people and peoples. “The Syriac Union Party, on the occasion of Akitu, wishes our people a year of prosperity, justice, and peace, and hope in seeing the SUP demands of a Syria based on equality, freedom, and democracy are met,” read the SUP’s statement.

The statement concluded by pointing out the need for this year’s public Akitu celebrations to be cancelled given the global COVID-19 pandemic and called on the CSA people around the world to abide by national authorities’ instructions on preventive measures.

The statement closed, “Akitu Brikho for all.”

All institutions of the Beth Nahrin National Council (BNC) in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, as well as the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in these countries, have taken several precautionary measures to curb the outbreak of COVID-19. All church meetings and activities have been suspended and Holy Liturgies have been limited to priests and a number of deacons, the services and ceremonies broadcast live via social media for worshipers to watch at home.