Nowruz (also known as Newroz) is a dual celebration of the vernal equinox and Persian New Year. It is celebrated throughout the region by people of Persian and Kurdish descent.
A large celebration took place in Trikomo (Iskele) on Sunday, in an event jointly organised by the Kibris Pir Sultan Abdal Association and the East- and South-easterners Association.
Police and security forces were on full alert in preparation of the spring festival.
Nowruz is a combination of the Persian words ‘nev’ (new) and ‘ruz’ which means the start of spring.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and deputy leader Omer Kalyoncu took part in the Trikomo event and helped light the traditional Nowruz fire with the other organisers. Speaking at the event, Akinci gave messages of peace, camaraderie and friendship, adding that Nowruz was one of the most important holidays to symbolise it.
At the start of the event, the meaning of Nowruz was read out in Turkish and Kurdish by the organisers followed the lighting of the fire and dancing.
Other political party leaders and representatives also took part in the event which was attended by locals. Media reports however that the participation this year was low compared to last year’s event which saw over 4,000 attendees. Around 1,300 people took part this year.
According to media reports, the recent bombing attacks in Turkey and rampant social media speculation that the Turkish Cypriot side could be a target, prevented people from taking part.
Around 700 policemen were on duty for the day, searching people wanting to attend the event. One person, who reportedly did not have an identity card, was taken in for questioning. According to police reports, the man was identified as Cuan Muhammed from Syria and was later released. No other incidents were reported.