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Tag: AKITU

The Tradition of New Year Resolutions

Goose

Ancient Babylonians started the tradition of making New Year Resolutions some 4,000 years ago. They made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days.

According to www.adoptionworld.com, late March is actually a logical choice for the beginning of a new year. It is the time of year that spring begins and new crops are planted. January 1st, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary. The Romans continued to observe the new year on March 25, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. If there’s one thing to learn from it is that we should stop tampering with nature and ancient wisdom. Perhaps then more people than the current 8 percent will achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.

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AKITU, Chaldean Babylonian New Year Festival

Akitu

Akitu/Chaldean Babylonian New Year Festival is a festival that marks the renewal of life, the beginning of spring in ancient Mesopotamia. It is also referred to as Resh Shatti(m), which literary means the beginning of the year.

In Babylonian religion, whether during the first recorded unification of ancient Mesopotamia under the legendary king of Kish Meshalim (2550 BC) or during the Babylonian dynasties, it came to be dedicated to Marduk’s victory over Goddess Tiamat, the bloated female dragon that personifies the saltwater ocean; in short, the victory of civilization and order on Chaos.

It has been proposed that Thanksgiving may trace its earliest recorded origins to this ancient Mesopotamian harvest festival.

In honor of this occasion, the Chaldean Educational Center of American and UR Multimedia held its yearly AKITU festival event at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church on Sunday, April 6th. The festival included Chaldean music, a book fair and photography exhibit, a show, and of course, food and drink.

My children’s favorite part of the event was eating the delicious kabob sandwiches! I loved seeing the women dressed in the traditional clothes my grandmothers and great-grandmothers once wore. My most favorite part was the information that artist, historian and author Amer Hanna Fatuhi shared about this festival.

“One of the roots of this festival is the sacred matrimony Hashadu, which represents the union of the male (sky) and the female (earth),” he said. “By mixing the sky and earth together, life grows, and you get the sacred matrimony, a renewal of life. This marriage was practiced by the king and the highest priestess.”

More information can be learned about this festival by reading Mr. Fatuhi’s book, The Untold Story of Native Iraqis.

Website: http://amerfatuhiart.com/Amer-native/
Facebook: The Untold Story of Native Iraqis