Who Are The Ezidis
The association Voice of Ezidis, co-founded in Paris in 2019 by survivors of the 2014 genocide perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State, is committed to the support of the Ezidi community, both in France, where some refugee families have fled since the beginning of the genocide, and in Iraq, where a lot of Ezidis still reside. Voice of Ezidis defends the rights of the Ezidi people and advocates for the awareness and recognition of the genocide it endured in 2014.
Who are the Ezidis ?
Ezidis are one of the most ancient ethnic and religious minorities still existing today, as the first traces of their existence date back to the Sumerian era in Mesopotamia. Nowadays, Ezidis mainly live in Sinjar, a region of Iraq. However, smaller communities are present all over the world as a result of discrimination throughout history.
The word Ezidi was found on a clay figure dating back to Sumerian and Babylonian eras and is derived from Khuday Ez Dam, meaning I was created by God. Even though we are called Yazidis (English) and Yezidis (French), the original and correct version is Ezidis, as said in Ezidi language and as witnessed by ancient and millenary artifacts.
Origin of the name
Ezidi religion is one of the oldest monotheistic religions and it is considered to be pre-Abrahamic. In Lalish - a small mountain village in Northern Iraq - there is the holiest temple of Ezidi faith. The temple belongs to ancient times and many archaeologists and historians agree that it was part of Sumerian and other ancient Mesopotamian civilizations.
Culture and Religion
As one of the most ancient ethnic and religious groups, Ezidis have developed a strong sense of identity defined by millenary traditions. One of its traditions is Serê Sal, the Ezidi New Year, which falls in spring, on the first Wednesday of April (Assyrian calendar). During the Serê Sal, there is some lamentation by women in the cemeteries, to the accompaniment of the music of the Qewals. But, in general, the Serê Sal is characterized by joyous events: the music of def (drum) and shebab (shawm), communal dancing, meals and the decorating of eggs.
One of the most important traditions in the community is the Cejna Cemaiya, or Feast of the Assembly, that is the annual seven-day pilgrimage to the holy temple of Lalish. Ezidis also fast during the three shortest days of the year, worshipping God to give them longer days.