Assyrian Martyrs Day Date in the current year: August 7, 2024

Assyrian Martyrs Day Although many people associate the word “Assyrian” with an ancient empire in Mesopotamia, Assyrians are not an extinct people. The present-day Assyrians inhabit parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria, and also have a large diaspora across the world. Throughout the XX century they have been victims of massacres and genocide. To commemorate their fallen brothers and sisters, Assyrians observe Martyrs Day on August 7.

Modern Assyrians claim descent from the ancient Assyrian Empire. They are considered an indigenous ethnic minority of Iraq and parts of Turkey, Syria and Iran. Their language belongs to the Semitic branch (alongside Arabic, Amharic, Hebrew, Tigrinya, and Maltese). Most Assyrians are Christians who belong to the Assyrian Church of the East or other Eastern Christian Churches. Many Assyrians live in the Middle East, there’s also a considerable Assyrian diaspora in the United States, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Canada, and other countries.

One of the saddest pages in the history of Assyrians is the Simele massacre in Iraq in 1933. It was committed by the Iraqi armed forces during a campaign that systematically targeted the Assyrians of northern Iraq. At least 3,000 Assyrians (according to other estimates, between 5,000 and 6,000) were killed in the town of Simele and neighboring Assyrian villages between August 7 and 10, 1933.

The anniversary of the first of many massacres committed by the Iraqi government is observed by Assyrians across the world as Martyrs Day or National Day of Mourning. It was officially established by the Assyrian Universal Alliance in 1970.

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Assyrian Martyrs Day, National Day of Mourning, Simele massacre, memorial day, Assyrian diaspora