Yazidis head for the bazaars in preparation for the feast of Ezi
The Yazidi community is preparing to fast in preparation for the feast of Ezi. Every Yazidi has to fast for three days every December. The fast begins at about 4 am and lasts the whole day till dusk, being broken at sunset. The fast lasts from Monday till Thursday, with a feast held on the Friday. During the fasting days and on the first day they slaughter a sheep and distribute it to poor families, relatives and neighbours; fasting is considered a duty for every Yazidi. If someone cannot fast on these specific days, because he or she is sick or has to make a trip, they have to do it on another day.
The Yazidi do not distinguish between the alms they distribute because if a poor family does not have enough to eat, even a loaf of bread will be enough to help them; it will count with God.
During the Ezi, the Yazidi gather and dance in the streets while the clergy worship God. The Yazidi have many other feasts, including Sheshms, Khodan, Khudir Alyas, and the Summer and Winter feasts. The Ezi is considered the second biggest feast in the Yazidi religious calendar. Before the day of feast, the Yazidi head for the markets and bazaars to buy new clothes for their families along with buy sweets and fruit (candied and fresh).
On the day of the feast, people wake up early in order to prepare themselves and wish each other a happy feast before heading to the homes of their neighbours and relatives to wish them a happy Eid. Sweets are distributed and food served to the visitors. The women visit family graves and distribute sweets and food to wash away the sins of the dead, while in Ba'shika district in the south of Mosul, the Qawals (clergymen) play tambourines and flutes to mark the coming of the Eid.
The timing of the fast to coincide with the shortest days of the year is linked to the traditions and agricultural practices of the Yezidis’ ancestors and of ancient peoples. Daham Ali, a Yazidi young man, was very happy about the upcoming fast and feast: “I am happy because the fast brings us closer to God; we worship Him and He forgives our sins. For Hassan, another Yazidi, December is considered the month of forgiveness: “During the fast, I feel very happy because I know that God will not forget us because we are fasting and worshipping Him. Also, on the day of the feast, people becomes tolerant towards each other”.
Clergymen lighting candles in Lalesh temple