Nowruz celebrations took place around North Cyprus over the weekend, with heightened security in place for the 3,000-year-old event.
Nowruz (also known as Newroz in the Kurdish dialect) 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 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 for the spring festival. Nowruz is a combination of the Persian words ‘nev’ (new) and ‘ruz’ which means the start of spring.
President Mustafa Akinci and deputy leader Ömer Kalyoncu took part in the Iskele 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, said 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.