The Gath­er­ing Feast: rit­u­als can­celled at the Lalesh tem­ple

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Ac­cord­ing to Yazidi mythol­ogy, the gath­er­ing feast, the most im­por­tant and sa­cred in the Yazidi cal­en­dar, in the feast at which sins are for­got­ten. The hol­i­day, which takes place on 6-13 Oc­to­ber ev­ery year, is a se­ries of re­li­gious cer­e­monies which lasts for seven days. Yazidis from all over the world, and Tur­key and Syria in par­tic­u­lar, visit the tem­ple to cel­e­brate the feast in a spirit of brother­hood. All pil­grims must be bare­foot and pu­ri­fied when they come to the Lalesh tem­ple to cel­e­brate the feast. Un­for­tu­nately, the re­li­gious cer­e­monies have been can­celed this year by the Yazidi spir­i­tual coun­cil of and its head, Meer Tah­seen Bak, to pre­serve the safety and se­cu­rity of the Yazidi com­mu­nity in the wake of the ex­plo­sions that shook the cap­i­tal city of Kur­dis­tan's Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG), Er­bil, which left six peo­ple dead and another 84 in­jured. Al­though a lot of peo­ple had al­ready ar­rived at the Lalesh tem­ple, the rit­u­als were still can­celed.

In pre­vi­ous years, visi­tors came to Lalesh to cel­e­brate the feast and prac­tice their rit­u­als. The tem­ple was full of peo­ple and me­dia from the Kur­dis­tan re­gion and be­yond, who came to ob­serve the rit­u­als and tra­di­tions. Ev­ery night, Qawals (re­li­gious men) would take can­dles and light lamps to il­lu­mi­nate the tem­ple. Amory Dnany, a pil­grim, said: “I am very sad that we can­not cel­e­brate our feast this year in Lalesh tem­ple. In pre­vi­ous years, we came to Lalesh and cel­e­brated our feast amidst many peo­ple in a spirit of brother­hood. If there were ad­e­quate se­cu­rity, the rit­u­als could be per­formed and we could prac­tice our re­li­gion in a bet­ter way.” Dl­shad Jundi, another young Yazidi, ex­pressed his sad­ness at not prac­tic­ing the rit­u­als this year: “I am sad be­cause I was to see my fam­ily at Lalesh tem­ple. They said they were com­ing from Ger­many so we could cel­e­brate the feast all to­gether, but I won’t be see­ing them this year be­cause the rit­u­als have been can­celled. I shall take this op­por­tu­nity to con­grat­u­late ev­ery­one and ask God to keep us in peace. May God keep Kur­dis­tan and pro­tect us all from bad things.” Ma­jid Isa, a 26 year-old pil­grim, said: “We don't want our re­gion to be like oth­ers in the south of Iraq. We want to prac­tice our rit­u­als among other re­li­gions and to co­ex­ist along­side them.”

A num­ber of fe­male chil­dren and el­derly woman stands to­gether in front of Lal­ish Tem­ple, which is the ma­jor re­li­gious place for Yezidi’s across the world.

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