The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a ceremony on Thursday to celebrate Kurdistan Flag day.
“This flag is a symbol for the sacrifice of our nation,” Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a speech at the Thursday ceremony, saying it resembles the “diversity and unity” found in the Kurdistan Region.
“I ask our future generation, our youth, to know the sacrifices given for the sake of this flag and our national pride,” he added. “I ask all the different parties and groups in the region to work together under this flag, in order to achieve a good life for all the diverse groups that live in the Kurdistan Region.”
The Kurdish flag was first raised on official government buildings in 1946 when Kurdish leader Qazi Muhammad declared the creation of the Republic of Mahabad from a Kurdish city by the same name in western Iran.
Despite the short life of the Republic, the flag has become a symbol for Kurdish resistance and nationalism against several oppressors.
December 17 was chosen as Kurdistan Flag day in 2004 by Kurdish parliament and has been celebrated throughout the Region annually since.
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani also expressed his respect to the families of those who have died for what the flag represents in a tweet Thursday morning.
Lahur Talabani, co-leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), tweeted similarly.
“Under the flag of Kurdistan that is the product of thousands of martyrs, our nation deserves a more free and prosperous life,” he said.
KDP leader Masoud Barzani also tweeted to venerate the flag on Thursday.
“This hallowed flag for which so much blood has been shed shall eternally remain a source of pride to all the people of Kurdistan,” he said.