Dennis Earl Elementary School students learned a little about Assyrian culture on Friday, during the school’s Fifth Annual Assyrian New Year Celebration.
Though just the fifth year of Earl’s celebration, it marked the 6,765th New Year for the Assyrian people, one of the oldest cultures in human history.
Earl students were treated to a demonstration of the Assyrian dance Bagi-eh, one of the oldest known dances in the world, and a lesson on the Assyrian alphabet, history, flag and culture. Students even sampled a traditional pastry known as Nazookeh.
Students learned that Assyrians originally come from Iraq, in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and that it is one of the oldest cultures in the world. Assyrians speak a modern dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, and they are a Christian culture. Students also learned that the Assyrian language is written from the right to the left.
Earl has a rich Assyrian student population, with more than 65 Assyrian families enrolled at the school. It is the only Turlock Unified School District campus with an Assyrian speaking para-professional, Caty Nariman, who organizes the event each year.
Nariman says Earl Elementary is a warm, welcoming environment that welcomes all cultures.
“We feel so at home here, very happy here. It is very comfortable and we have such a supportive staff, teachers and principal,” said Nariman.
The welcoming culture at Earl starts with Principal Tami Truax, who took her turn at the Bagi-eh with a fair amount of success.
“Our school is a multi-cultural school and we are so proud of our Assyrian students and families,” said Truax.
Stanislaus County is home to an estimated 30,000 Assyrian people. Turlock alone is home to more than 10,000 Assyrians, including Mayor John Lazar.
“We love the United States and we love Turlock. This is our home,” said Nariman.
Photo by Jonathan McCorkell/TurlockCityNews.com