Syriac community celebrates Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Zalin and Qabre Hewore, North and East Syria

ZALIN and QABRE HEWORE, Syria — Vibrant celebrations filled the villages of Mohrekan and Al-Watatiyya in near Zalin (Qamishli) and Qabre Hewore (Al-Qahtaniyah) in North and East Syria on Thursday. Marking the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a tradition going back to 326 AD when the Romans discovered pieces of the Cross in Jerusalem, festivities kicked off with the traditional lighting of fires, jubilant gatherings, songs, and cultural dances that resonate with the rich heritage of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) community.

This year’s festivities organized by the institutions of the Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umthoyo D’Bethnahrin, MUB) took place in the village of Mahrakan in the Qabre Hewore countryside. The event was sponsored by the Syriac Women’s Union, which organized the celebration.

The event commenced with Georgette Barsoum, the head of the Syriac Women’s Union in Zalin shedding light on the significance of the holiday and its profound importance to Christians worldwide. Attendees then gathered at the village church’s entrance square, where they lit a bonfire, a tradition dating back to the first celebrations of the feast.

Meanwhile, in Zalin, another celebration unfolded in the village of Al-Watutiya. The event was attended by representatives from Syriac Church institutions and the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) community. The event encompassed the customary rituals and customs associated with the celebration, including the torch lighting ceremony, harmonious renditions of folkloric songs, and traditional dances.