Sunday, December 21, 2008


"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
~ Edith Sitwell.

Here's wishing a Happy Şeva Zistanê to all, especially to our Rojhelatî brothers and sisters, many of whom still celebrate Şeva Zistanê like they do Newroz. Here's a little something on this ancient holiday, from Wikipedia:

The Night of Winter (Kurdish: Şeva Zistanê) is an unofficial holiday celebrated by communities throughout the Kurdistan region in the Middle East. The night is considered one of the oldest holidays still observed by modern Kurds and was celebrated by ancient tribes in the region as a holy day. The holiday falls every year on the Winter Solstice. Since the night is the longest in the year, ancient tribes believed that it was the night before a victory of light over darkness and signified a rebirth of the Sun. The Sun plays an important role in several ancient religions still practiced by some Kurds in addition to Zoroastrianism.

Several small religious communities in Kurdistan share similar ideas in regards to Şeva Zistanê. In Zoroastrianism, the belief of light over darkness is well-documented by scholars of the religion. The Winter Solstice is assumed to be the night when Ahriman is at the peak of their strength. The following day is celebratory as it is assumed Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom, has claimed victory. Since the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, this day marks the victory of light, or the Sun, over the darkness or evil.

In modern times, communities in the Kurdistan region still observe the night as a holiday. Many families prepare large feasts for their communities and the children play games and are given sweets in similar fashion to modern-day Halloween practices.

From this day on, the days will get longer. There's more on international winter solstice celebrations, also at Wikipedia.

Let me also draw your attention to a possible peace summit to be held by Kurds from Turkey and Iraq in Europe. From Reuters (thanks, heval!):

Kurdish leaders from Turkey and Iraq will hold a peace conference aimed at ending decades of violence by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group, the head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party said.

Ahmet Turk, leader of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), said the conference, which would take part in Europe or in Iraq, was agreed during a recent trip to northern Iraq, where he met Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi Kurdish leaders.

Turkey, the European Union and United States consider the PKK a terrorist organisation. The group has bases in northern Iraq from where it launches attacks on Turkey in pursuit of an independent Kurdish homeland.

"Kurds will hold a conference and discuss the conditions of a peace process," Turk told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday. "Kurds have to focus on a peace process and put forward a common understanding on the issue."

Turk said the PKK had been invited, but a spokesman for the rebel group in Iraq said it welcomed the conference but it would not attend. Turk did not say when the conference would happen.

The DTP seeks more cultural and political rights for Turkey's Kurds and has insisted a democratic solution should be found. The conference could exert some pressure on the PKK to voice willingness to put down its arms.

Turkey has long complained that Iraq is failing to curb PKK fighters who cross the border to launch attacks against it, but Baghdad and Ankara have recently stepped up contacts to fight Kurdish separatist guerrillas.

I have seen no word of this news in Turkish media or in Turkish-language Kurdish media, so we'll have to wait to see what happens. If I do see something more, I'll do an update.

And for those of you who enjoy online games, don't miss Sock and Awe.

Cejin pîroz bê! Bayramınız kutlu olsun!


Gordon Taylor said...

Interesting stuff about the solstice; thanks, as always.

By the way, I just went to to see what their latest total was. (It was close to 20,000 signers the last I looked.) Instead of the website, I got the following:

Account suspended

Account for domain has been suspended

Nothing about this yet at You read it here first. (11 p.m. Pacific Standard Time)

Anonymous said...

What was the signing about Gordon?

Gordon Taylor said...

Bos ver.

I was wrong. Last night it was off, today it's back on. Up to 22,000+ signatures. It's about Armenians, of course, but it's also relevant (I think) to the Kurds.