Second Syriac Heritage Festival concluded in Ankawa, Iraq

ANKAWA, Iraq — On Tuesday, the General Directorate of Syriac Culture and Arts held the 2nd Syriac Heritage Festival in Ankawa, Iraq.

The festival formally began with the cutting of a ribbon in the presence of many local and regional religious leaders, including Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East Mar Awa III Royel, Archbishop of the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil Mor Bashar Matti Warda, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul, Kerkeslokh (Kirkuk), and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Syriac Catholic Coadjutor Archbishop Nathanael Nizar Semaan, and Archbishop of Diana and Kirkuk of the Assyrian Church of the East Abris Youkhna.

After the opening, attendees were able to tour the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) heritage bazaar, which included traditional costumes of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people. Stands of the bazaar also presented artisanal handicrafts and guests were able to sample a wide range of traditional dishes at food stalls. 

Then, an operetta was performed by the Nabo Show Band from Babylon. Their performance included the entry of the Babylonian king and queen, advancing among the crowds, with music that announced the start of the festival. Nabo Show Band also presented an operetta which narrated the tale of the civilizations of Mesopotamia, entitled ‘Babylonian Phoneme’.

The second act was performed by the Syriac Barmaya Troupe, who came from Beth Zalin (Qamishli) in Syria and presented folk dances. This was followed by a multitude of Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) singers singing folk and heritage songs.

In attendance was also Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Acting Minister of Culture and Youth Aram Muhammad Qadir, Minister of Transport and Communications Ano Abdoka, Minister of Region for Components Affairs Aydin Maarouf, Governor of Erbil Omed Khoshnaw, and Mayor of Ankawa District Ramy Noori. Even the diplomatic Consuls of Russia, Poland, and Palestine attended the festival. 

The many important guests that attended, from priests to government officials and representatives of civil society organizations, made for a large audience. The festival was considered a great success by the organizers and those in attendance.