IRAQ: Pomegranate season


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Cool mountain breezes grace the golden hilltops of Kurdistan, bending the dry blades of grass. Across rocky mountain slopes studded with pine trees, upon yellowed high desert plains strewn with boulders, in grassy valleys along foaming rivers, a hundred wedding celebrations bloom.

With the threats of a Turkish invasion receding, Kurds have resumed the joys of life. They tend to celebrate weddings outdoors. The men get gussied up in traditional baggy trousers and cummerbunds. The women slide into glittery emerald dresses and shawls as red as the ubiquitous pomegranates now in season and sold from makeshift stalls along country roads.


Kurds’ traditions override Islamic strictures against dancing and contact between the sexes, especially at weddings. The women twirl their headscarves in the air. As Kurdish pop music blares from tinny loudspeakers, men and women lock arms and float around a circle in a line dance, twisting their shoulders forward and moving their hips to the beat.

At one weekend wedding, the loud music blew out the speakers, but the guests kept moving, dancing and laughing to an imaginary rhythm.

— Borzou Daragahi in Irbil, Iraq