By Dr. Bilus Poles, Omni Dental

Chicago’s vibrant Assyrian community recently came alive with the spirited sounds and colorful sights of the Assyrian New Year Parade, marking the year 6774. As a proud member of this community and a local at Omni Dental in Arlington Heights, I was thrilled to join the festivities on Sunday, March 24, 2024, alongside my family.

A Day of Joy and Pride

The parade, stepping off at Devon and Western Ave – a stretch honorably known as King Sargon Blvd – is an annual celebration that holds a special place in the hearts of Assyrians. It is not just a display of our rich cultural tapestry; it is a testament to the enduring spirit of our people.

History Marching Forward

The Assyrian culture boasts an incredible legacy, dating back over 6,750 years, attributed to significant contributions such as the wheeled vehicle and some of the earliest forms of writing. This parade was a reflection of that glorious past, a homage to figures like King Hammurabi and King Ashurbanipal, who shaped the course of history with law and learning.

The Heartbeat of Our Community

In Chicago, where approximately 100,000 Assyrians form the largest community in America, the New Year Parade is more than a celebration – it’s a public affirmation of our identity. We’ve weathered centuries of change, yet our heritage remains as vibrant and resilient as ever. This event, resplendent with traditional attire, folk dances, and the sounds of zorna and drums, is a vivid reminder of our ancestral home between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

A Message of Resilience and Hope

It’s essential to recognize the significance of this day, especially for a stateless people with a history marked by perseverance against persecution. The parade stands as a beacon of hope, allowing us to revel in our culture’s survival and offering a stage to educate the young and the curious about our rich Assyrian legacy.

Embracing Our Roots

As floats adorned with symbols of Assyrian power traversed King Sargon Blvd, they carried messages in both English and Assyrian, symbolizing our dual heritage. We danced to the ancient tunes, celebrating our dual pride in being Assyrian and American, as we waved flags representing our past and our present.

United by Culture

Our presence in this parade – professionals, parents, and children alike – signifies the unity of the Assyrian community in Chicago. We are doctors, engineers, artisans, and more, but above all, we are bearers of a tradition that enriches the mosaic of American society.

A Look to the Future

As we look ahead, it’s clear that our community is not just preserving traditions; we’re creating a living history that resonates with the generations to come. We march not only for those who walked before us but for those who will follow, ensuring the Assyrian spirit remains indomitable.

Conclusion: A Legacy Carried Onward

The Assyrian New Year Parade is a colorful reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re going. As a dentist serving the Arlington Heights area and a family man, I take great pride in our history and the opportunity to share it with my children. Here in Chicago, we carry our heritage forward with every step of the parade – celebrating, remembering, and teaching. Our story is one of resilience, faith, and unyielding culture – a story that continues to unfold with every new year we herald.

Let’s carry this legacy onward, cherishing our traditions while embracing the opportunities of our adopted land. To all who joined in the festivities, your spirit enriches our collective journey, making every Assyrian New Year in Chicago a profound celebration of life and community.

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