Ours is not the only calendar in use: Assyrians Usher 6764th Year With Celebrations Worldwide

b2As with all cultures, we find different measuring systems a bit puzzling. The U.S.A. did not adopt our present calendar system easily.  It took decades before everyone got on the same page. During my own life time, driving through Indiana on my way to Ft. Riley, KS, the next town ahead often was on a different time than the town I just went through (no Interstates then). Americans have always been slow to take seriously others’ cultural differences, both among ourselves, and internationally.  We are pretty much homebodies.  Then, too, so are most cultures and nations. Human nature, I guess.

Here is about the most ancient calendar in the world, rivaled only by some from India. Here, also, is a bit of cuneiform wishing you a happy new year (with translation).

Fr. Orthohippo


Assyrian New Year in Khabour, Syria, 2012.

(AINA) — March 21, 2014 marked the beginning of the 6764th Assyrian year. The celebration of the new year is called the Akitu festival by Assyrians, and it goes back to antiquity. It was adopted by the various cultures that lived contemporaneously with Assyrians and by those that succeeded them. The Kurds and Iranians adopted the festival and call it Nowrooz.

The Akitu festival is a 12 day celebration. In the old Assyrian Calendar the Assyrian year (April 1st) began on the Vernal Equinox, which falls on March 21 in the Gregorian Calendar. The first month of the Assyrian year is April (Neesan). To align with the Gregorian calendar, contemporary Assyrians mark April first as the beginning of the new year.

See also:

The Meaning of the Assyrian New Year.
The Assyrian New Year in Pictures.



About Fr. Orthohippo

The blog of a retired Anglican priest (MSJ), his musings, journey, humor, wonderment, and comments on today's scene.
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One Response to Ours is not the only calendar in use: Assyrians Usher 6764th Year With Celebrations Worldwide

  1. Amer Hanna says:

    Dear Fr. Orthohippo,

    Kindly be advised that Chaldeans, the indigenous people of Iraq will celebrate Akitu 7315k on April 1, 2015 as part of the cultural event “Babylon … Walking on Cracked Ice”. See the link below:

    AKITU was and still is a Chaldean Babylonian New Year Festival. It has been scientifically proven that lunar and solar calendars were developed by proto-Kaldi, founders of Eridu 5300 BC. They used them in calculating the dates of farming and sowing. The Babylonian calendar had 12 lunar months. To make them accord with the solar cycle, they added leap months. Hence, moon god Sin and in Sumerian Nannar was not assigned the numbers 28 or 29, the two traditional numbers of the moon cycle around itself and around earth. In essence, it was given the sacred number 30 and his chief temple was at the city of Ur of the Chaldees’ even while Babylon was occupied by the Achaemenids. God Nannar is father of the sun god Shamash, god of justice and equality. Shamash rose to a high status after the agricultural stage had begun in Mesopotamia.
    To learn more read section “Calendars in Ancient Iraq … Sumer and Akkad”.

    Likewise, Akitu was never an Assyrian festival, simply because it was traditionally celebrated in Babylon to acknowledge the supremacy of god Mardukh.

    Celebrating Mesopotamian New Year on April 1st is dateable to the Babylonian First Dynasty, early second millennium BC. This Amorite Dynasty is a descendant of proto-Kaldi. In that era, religious economic and social aspects of life were modified and transformed from their earlier inherited patterns to be in accordance with Babylonians’ own culture and fundamental values.
    Akitu was celebrated in two stages and in two locations: in the temple of god Mardukh, E-sagila,” the house that rises its head” situated in the Babylonian ziggurat, the loftiest part of the E-temen-an-ki tower, foundation house of heaven and earth. The other location was Beth Akitu temple located northbound outside the walls of the city. It is worth mentioning that since early first millennium BC, god Mardukh was usually called Bel, the Lord because his real name was considered too holy to be pronounced. Similar the (Lord God) epithet used by the scribes of the Old Testament for Elohim/the Hebrew God.
    To learn more about Akitu kindly read section Three: A Complementary Mesopotamian View
    “AKITU Festival, Chaldean / Babylonian New Year 5300 BC”.

    The fantasy number 6764 is illogical and unacceptable by any scientific measure. The first Assyrian dynasty was established by a Babylonian king Shamshi-Adad I / Shamshi-Addu I in 1813 BC. You do the calculation.

    Furthermore, the so-called modern Assyrians are not even Mesopotamians. To learn about this fact, please read my letter to the Honorable John Kerry on the link below:

    In Christ,

    Amer H. Hanna
    Visual Artist & Historian
    Former Senior Adviser for the U.S. Army on Middle East Ethno-religious Affairs

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