The flags in front of the Turlock Assyrian American Civic Club are flying at half mast and the club's Resha’D Nisan Celebration, planned for today, has been postponed due to the passing of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.
"The Assyrian Nation has lost a great leader and a better man. Our deepest condolences go out to all members of his family and the Assyrian Church of the East," said civic club president Sam David in a released statement.
The Assyrian New Year Festival was the most prodigious celebration in ancient Assyria, including Babylon, Sumer and Akkad. Following the first new moon after the vernal equinox in late March when the Earth's equator passes the centre of the Sun, the Assyrians would honor the rebirth of the natural world with a multi-day festival called Akitu. This New Year's celebration dates back to 6765. During the Akitu, statues of the gods were paraded through the city streets, and rites were enacted to symbolize their victory over the forces of chaos. Through these rituals the Babylonians and Assyrians believed the world was symbolically cleansed and recreated by the gods in preparation for the New Year and the return of spring.
A new date for the New Year celebration has not yet been determined.