In short

As the biggest holiday in the calendar yezidi, Assembly Day is called Cêjna Cemaiya in Kurmanji, which includes an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi (Şêx Adî) in Lalish, northern Iraq. The festival is celebrated from 6th to 13th october, in honor of Sheikh Adi. This is an important moment for cohesion. If possible, the Yazidis make at least one pilgrimage to Lalish in their lifetime, and those who live in the area try to attend at least once a year for the Assembly Festival in the fall.


Cêjna Cemaiya on Assembly Day

During the festival, the entire community comes together, all the tribal leaders, religious dignitaries and authorities are gathered at one place and special performances, celebrations and rituals are performed, this includes processions, community meals, theatrical performances, qewl recitals, animal sacrifices and candlelight, this festival is also celebrated joyfully with dances, musical performances, markets and games. This is a great opportunity for young Yazidis to meet, hang out and party.

During the first days of the pilgrimage, thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Silat Bridge, which symbolizes the transition from secular to sacred life. Everyone is required to remove their shoes, wash their hands in the river and cross the bridge three times carrying torches and singing hymns. Thereafter, they walk to the tomb of Sheikh 'Adī. They circle the building three times before kissing the door frame and entering. They take their place around a five-branched torch and attend the first ball of the evening.

The evening dance, called Sema Êvarî, is performed every evening of the festival. During the dance, twelve men, dressed in white, circumambulate around a sacred torch lit in the middle which represents both God and the sun. The twelve men sing hymns as they walk slowly and solemnly. They are accompanied by the music of three Qawwals, who are trained singers and reciters of religious hymns.

Pilgrims also visit the sacred white stone located on top of Arafat Mountain next to the shrine, which is one of the next three mountains in the Lalish Valley surrounding the temple. They circle the white stone seven times, kiss it as a sign of reverence and offer a sum of money to the guardian of the site.

On the fourth day of the festival, the clothes that cover and decorate the tomb of Sheikh 'Adī are washed in the holy water of the Zemzem spring, located in a dark cave. Religious hymns are sung while they are dried and replaced. The seven differently colored garments, which represent the seven holy beings ruling the earth, must each be removed separately and ritually washed.

On the fifth day, a bull is sacrificed in front of the shrine of Sheikh Shems, who is one of the seven holy beings of Yazidism who personifies the sun. Three tribes, namely Qaidy, Tirk and Mamusi, are responsible for bringing a bull to the center of Lalish and chasing it to the shrine of Sheikh Shems, where it is to be caught and ceremonially killed. The meat is then cooked and distributed to pilgrims in Lalish.

The last two days of the festival consist of a ceremonial sacrifice of sheep by the people of Ain Sifni, and bringing the funeral bier of Sheikh 'Adī', who is located in Baadre, to Lalish, where she is baptized, it is that is to say ritually washed, with water from the sacred spring. Religious hymns are recited as the pilgrims depart.

This festival corresponds to the ancient festival Iranian of Mehragan, which also usually involved animal sacrifices. The ceremonial bull sacrifice in particular was found to be similar to ancient Iranian tradition, as the bull sacrifice takes place in front of Sheikh Shems, a solar being who shares many similar traits with the ancient Iranian solar deity Mithra, who is repeatedly depicted killing a bull and who also had a festival, during the same season, celebrated in his honor.

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Today, Yazidis celebrate Assembly Day, Cêjna Cemaiya which includes an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi in Iraq. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #6October #yézidi #Yazidi


Assembly Day