(AINA) -- March 21 marked the beginning of the 6762nd Assyrian year. The celebration of the new year was and is called the Akitu festival by Assyrians, and this was adopted by the various cultures that lived contemporaneously with Assyrians and by those that succeeded them. The Akitu festival is a 12 day celebration.
Assyrian New year celebration in Chicago, 2011.
In the old Assyrian Calendar the Assyrian year began on the Vernal Equinox, which falls on March 21 in the Gregorian Calendar. The first month of the Assyrian year is April (Neesan). To align with the Gregorian calendar, today's Assyrians mark April first as the beginning of the new year.
Assyrian New year celebration in North Iraq, 2009.
The epoch for the Assyrian year is 4750 B.C., which is the date of the building of the first temple of Ashur, in the city of Ashur (present-day North Iraq).
Assyrian New year celebration in Fairfield, Australia, 2008.
In the Gregorian calendar, the Assyrian year is 4750 + the Gregorian Year. Example: 4750 + 2012 A.D. = 6762 Assyrian Year. This is true if the date is after April 1, before that the year is one less (i.e., 6761). This is because the Assyrian year begins on April 1.
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