Ashur Drama Group
Come Back To Me

come come to me my darling
why don't you come back to me
I want you to teach me Assyrian

Alap Beet Gammal Dalat
Heh, Waw, Zain, Khet, Tdet,
Yodh, Kap, Lammad, Meen, Noon, Simkat
Ei, Peh, Sadeh, Qop, Resh, Sheen, Taw

teach me how to dance SHAY-KHAA-NEE (a dance step)
teach me how to make BOO-SHAA-LAA (yogurt soup)
?? DIKHWAA POKHEH also DOL-MAA (? and stuffed grape leaves)
MAA-SHEH, RRI-ZAA, KU-RRAA, BOM-YAA (beans, rice, okra, ?)

teach me make tea with SEE-MAA-WAAR (Samovar)
also make DO-WEH from yogurt (cold yogurt drink)

tell me about Nineveh and Babel
teach me what is KHA B' NEE-SAAN (Assyrian New Year)
the great history of Assyria

tell me what is EE-DAA SOO-RRAA (Christmas)
why make KI-LE-CHEH EE-DAA GOO-RAA (a pastery on Easter)
and what is CHAA-LOO SOO-LAA-QAA (Bride and Ascension festival)

why you break eggs in Easter
in NOO-SAAR-DIL spray water on each other (Nusardil festival)

SHAY-KHAA-NEE = an Assyrian dance step
KHI-GAA YAA-QOO-RRAA = an heavy Assyrian dance step
BI-LAA-TEE = an Assyrian dance step
BOO-SHAA-LAA = a white creamy yogurt soup
MAA-SHEH = beans
RRI-ZAA = rice
KU-RRAA = okra
SEE-MAA-WAAR = a large Russian teapot
DO-WEH = a white cold yogurt drink
KHA B' NEE-SAAN = first of April.  Assyrian New year celebrated for 12 days.
EE-DAA SOO-RRAA = Chirstmas
KI-LE-CHEH = a small pastery dish baked with flour and dates
CHAA-LOO SOO-LAA-QAA = Bride and Ascension festival
NOO-SAAR-DIL = Nusardil = a day where people spray water for an Assyrian Christian festival commemorating mass baptisms by Jesus and the apostles

Breaking eggs in Easter is a symbol Jesus breaking out of his grave.
MSHEE-KHAA QEE-ME-LEH = Christ is resurrected is said during the tap

It is played as a game to see who is the last one left with an intact egg after each person taps their egg on another is said to have good luck in the future.

The egg represents the boulder of the tomb of Jesus

CHAA-LOO SOO-LAA-QAA = Bride and Ascension festival (decorated bride)

Feast of the Lord’s Ascension (Kaloo Soolaqa)
By: Fr. Kando D. Kando

Church of the East and the Assyrian Nation around the world Celebrate the festival of Kaloo Soolaqa (BRIDE & ASCENTION)

This festival is one of the seven “Feasts of our Lord” ܥܐܕܹܐ ܡܪܢܿܝܹܐ  that are confessed by the adherents of the Assyrian church of the East, that dates back to the first Christian century and established by the Apostles of Jesus Christ in the “Cradle of Mankind” Bet-Nahreen of today.

Kaloo Soolaqa (Bride and Ascension) is observed in honor and remembrances of the Ascension of Christ into His heavenly kingdom, (Lock 24. 50-51) following forty days after his miraculous resurrection. The other Six Lord’s festivals are dedicated in reverence to the glory of His: 1- Nativity, 2-Epiphany, 3-Transfiguration, 4-Pentecost,
5-Resurrection and 6- the Feast of the Invention of the Cross symbol of God’s power (see 1. Corinthians 1.18)

The Festival of the Ascension was called Kaloo Soolaqa because the “Bride” represents the Church and Jesus the “Groom.” Furthermore, in the 13th Century, as the Mongols began their conquest into Bet-Nahreen (Mesopotamia) today’s Iraq, the festival of Kaloo Soolaqa became a national recognized holiday that was observed by the entire Assyrians nation. Historical facts support the events that occurred during the intervention by the Mongols into the land of Atur. The documents that were recorded by the Patriarchal See of Mar Makikha ( patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East) in the years 1257-1265 A.D. told a tale of heroism that has taken root in the hearts and mind of every living Assyrian. The Invasion of the Mongols commenced from the south and up to, and through Baghdad. City after city fell and surrendered to the relentless and overpowering domination of the Mongols. As the offensive moved further towards a province ruled by the Assyrian chieftain named Malik Shallita, the enemy was met with a resistance that defied logic. The inferior power was strengthened to withstand and bring an end to the tyranny of the superior might of the enemy by the means of the most basic human instincts.

As Malik Shallita became aware of the imminent attack, he vowed to defend his people and their Christian faith with the last blood drop of his nation. His wife, Sharbai, assisted in the strategy to impede the impending invasion by dressing their young daughter, named Shwikhta, (Gloria) into bridal gown and head veil. Sharbai took her daughter Shwikhta to the front line that was protecting their land so that the defenders would comprehend the purpose of their mission. Shwikhta’s appearance as a bride served to motivate the gallant Assyrian warriors to defend the innocence and purity of the children of their nation, as well as symbolically, the church (the bride). Then Mothers throughout the province followed suit. Their renewed determination disheartened the enemy in accomplishing their objective. The Mongols became extremely frustrated by their failure to advance thus retreated in shame. The news of this great victory in its ability to repel the attack spread throughout the land. It was said that, the “Bride” was protected by the defenders of the “Groom”.

Henceforth, the inhabitants of the Land of Atur (Assyria), the first nation utterly converts to Christian faith, marked this glorious occasion by marching out of their villages to participate in the annual festival of “Kaloo Soolaqa.” Their path was led by hundred of young girls, dressed in their bridal gowns and veils, towards the shady campground of the “Garden of Eden”. This paradise on earth was located in Bet-Nahrain Land of Atur see Genesis 2. 8-12. the garden was adorned by gigantic fruit trees in their ultimate blossoming period, in the season of spring.
Following the celebration of the holy Mass, after reaching the campgrounds, everyone would celebrate in a great feast that included a traditional Sheera d’khalwa (rice/milk soup or Gerdo ) this was followed by line dancing not only young girls and boys but even the oldest, where everyone stands side-to- side and hand –to-hand and dances in a circle that is as big as a football field.

Finally, the celebration concluded by the participants, whether young or old, taking terms in sitting on a swing that hung from ropes attached to the large fruit trees within the Garden of Eden. The swing’s motion, forward and up to the heaven, symbolized the honor being bestowed upon the Ascension of Jesus into His heavenly kingdom.

The Assyrians are the indigenous inhabitants of Bet-Nahrain Mesopotamia. They are the models and symbols of the antiquities of today’s Iraq. In keeping with their traditional values and Christian faith, they continue to demonstrate their dedicated devotion and observe the festival of their forefathers and their beloved Assyrian Church of the East. Therefore, these festivals are sponsored by various Assyrian organizations and local churches throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, and especially at the mountainous villages of Atur unjustly called Kurdistan.

NOO-SAAR-DIL = Nusardil
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (June)

an Assyrian Christian festival commemorating mass baptisms by Jesus and the apostles

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (June)

Assyrian Christians celebrate Nusardil to commemorate the church's baptism ceremony. But the origins of the ceremony are said to date to pre-Christian times. Assyrian pagans worshipped gods of fire, air, and water. Sprinkling water on the path of a pagan religious procession was a common practice meant to show respect. When St. Thomas converted the Assyrians to Christianity in the first century c.e., he resorted to a mass baptism because of the many people involved. His splashing of water on a crowd of people, combined with the earlier pagan tradition, led to the current practice.

Traditionally, Nusardil participants splash or spill water on each other in a ritualistic way. Even those not associated with the celebration may get splashed for fun. Today, children also use squirt guns or similar devices to spray water on each other and on their elders. While the ceremony has its serious side, it is also a lighthearted occasion. Assyrian churches in America will often have a picnic on Nusardil. Food and a variety of outdoor games are combined with the water splashing ceremony.

NOO-SAAR-DIL = Nusardil
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (June)

Nusardil:  the Assyrian Water Festival

Mikhael K. Pius

If you are “baptized” on Nusardil Day, grin and bear it with a chuckle!

Nusardil or “Musardy” or “Nusardy” as popularly called, is a water festival, one of the many traditional feasts observed by the Assyrian people. It is celebrated in summer.

People, particularly young ones, go around with water-filled receptacles of various shapes and sizes and sprinkle or splash each other. Even non-Assyrian strangers are not spared. They often catch their “victims” unaware by sneaking up on them. Although those wetted are often startled out of their skin, they are expected to tolerate the “disaster” with grace, indicated by a grin or chuckle.

Nusardil was a popular event in Assyrian settlements in the Middle Eastern countries. It was well observed in closely-knit communities in Iraq, such as in Gailani Camp in Baghdad, in Kirkuk, and in Habbaniya. In the latter Armenians as well as some Arab, Kurdish, and Indian children also participated. It was also celebrated in other Assyrian town and village communities, including those in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and perhaps even in Russia. And following the Assyrian evacuation of Habbaniya in the late 1950s, the festival was celebrated in the several-thousand strong Assyrian community of Dora, a suburb of Baghdad.

Although the time and custom of celebrating the event was the same everywhere, the form of practicing it somewhat differed from community to community. Normally people, especially younger ones, chased each other on the streets and in alleyways and played water on each other. Some did this individually and some in “gangs.” But in some communities where rooftops were flat and attached to each other, some people sneaked from one rooftop to the other to splash the people down below, in the yards or on the alley or street. The festival usually lasted from morning till noontime. When the sun got very hot, most participants broke up and went home.
Some villagers made a holiday out of it, celebrating it in large groups, along with a frolicsome picnic, in fields or in orchards. The festival is now observed in a similar manner in the Turlock-Modesto area of California, but in a “modern” way. A picnic is held by a club in a public park for the whole Assyrian community (for a nominal entrance fee) and the sprinkling is done, mostly by youngsters, by modern sprinkling guns and “machine guns.”

On this day the club provides hot and cold drinks and sandwiches or grilled meat for sale as well as a musical band along with one or two of the Assyrian popular singers to enliven the event. A multitude of people flock to enjoy the festive picnic. The older ones (mostly wet!) enjoy listening to song and music, watching khigga dancing while eating (or savoring the aromatic smell of sizzling and smoking kababs!), drinking and chatting away the hours under cool shade of trees. The younger folks mainly enjoy dancing and frolicking, while the little ones have fun by chasing and sprinkling each other and screaming and laughing to their hearts’ content. The occasion is also springtime for those young men and women, whose blood is bubbling and whose hearts are brimming with elated romantic notions!

The Nusardil picnic is usually videotaped, along with relevant interviews with some of the participants, and is shown on the club’s local weekly one-hour TV program. Most people enjoy the opportunity to appear as well as watch themselves on TV. The club that focuses more on this tradition is the Assyrian American Association of Modesto. Their purpose, they say, is to promote our customs and traditions and to encourage our youth to practice them.
Nusardil is observed annually. The seventh Sunday after Pentecost, it usually falls in July about 100 days after Easter. It is said that this custom is an old tradition that has come down to us from our ancestors.

The ancient Assyrians had many gods—god of fire, god of sun, god of water, and so on—which were represented by different statues or symbols and were revered and celebrated in different ways. One form of celebration was by sprinkling of water. These representations were paraded in a procession through the city during national holidays or special festivals. The citizens who lined the streets to watch and to pay homage would sprinkle water on the path of the procession as a sign of their reverence, loyalty, and joy.

After the Assyrians embraced Christianity, they retained, modified, and gave a Christian meaning to some of these ancient Assyrian customs and traditions during the ensuing centuries. Nusardil is one of them. When they were evangelized in the first century A.D. by St. Thomas, it is said that because of the large number of people involved, the Apostle baptized en masse. He blessed water and sprinkled it over groups of crowds. This practice may have led to the tradition of Nusardil.

Baptism was, of course, initiated by John the Baptist. He baptized Jesus Christ, who in turn commanded His Disciples to go out and baptize all peoples.

Apparently Nusardil is celebrated by Assyrians in commemoration of the Christian baptism.
We “old timers” take the tradition for granted because we have seen and experienced Nusardil in our former homelands. But our children and grandchildren who have been born or raised in these Western countries do not know it, unless some have heard about it from their elders. But they are now learning to practice it and are enjoying it as well as absorbing its spirit.

But the most important aspect of such celebrations is that we are not only encouraging our people to keep our customs and traditions alive in this country, but are also instilling in our youth the importance and value of such heritage.

And coming with the territory is the opportunity for Assyrian young men and women to meet and—who knows—some might even feel the Cupid’s arrow in their hearts and hear wedding bells in their ears!