BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Happy New Year! Or Newroz.

Newroz is the Kurdish New Year and Binghamton marked the occasion with a flag raising outside City Hall this morning.

Members of the local Kurdish-American community came waving Kurdish and American flags and dressed in traditional Kurdish clothing.

In the region known as Kurdistan, it is customary to light fires on hilltops on the eve of Newroz.

Then today, families go out into the countryside for picnicking, dancing and music.

Jotiyar Taha of Endwell first approached the city about 10 years ago about holding a Newroz flag raising.

He says the holiday symbolizes victory over darkness.

“To recognize our culture means a lot to us. Kurdish people do not have an independent country, we try to be recognized by our culture, our nation, our history.”

Taha says there are approximately 60 Kurdish-American families living in Broome County.

He says traditonal Kurdish food enjoyed on Newroz include dolma, which are vegetables stuffed in grape leaves, and biryani, a rice dish that can include vegetables, nuts and chicken.

Mayor Jared Kraham recognized the Kurdish people not only for their contributions locally, but for being important allies of the United States in its fight against Middle Eastern terrorists.