This Azerbaijani tradition is one of the most interesting. Novruz is a feast of spring, coming of New Year. Before Nowruz Azerbaijanis celebrate a number of previous days saying good bye to the Old year and welcoming the New year. These days are the four pre-holiday Wednesdays: Su Chershenbe (Water Wednesday), Od
lu Chershenbe (Fire Wednesday), Torpag Chershenbe (Earth Wednesday) and Akhyr Chershenbe (Last Wednesday). According to the traditional beliefs the water is reborn on the first Wednesday: still waters come to motion; The fire does on the second one, the earth – on the third. On the fourth Wednesday the wind opens tree buds and spring begins.
Before the Nowruz multicultural holiday, it is a tradition for Azerbaijanian and other Indian groups to clean their houses completely, which can be observed by most households in Azerbaijan and it symbolizes the rebirth of nature? and renewal. Moreover, it is also customary for Azerbaijanians to buy at least one set of new clothes and some flowers, especially the tulip and hyacinth, to embrace the New Year, and dress in their new clothes to visit families and friends. Therefore, advertisers in the fashion/clothing industry should really make use of the Nowruz multicultural holiday and market themselves to promote the sales.
According to Azerbaijanian tradition, there are seven things for Azerbaijanians symbolizing seven holy immortals (rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty). These seven things on the Nowruz holiday table should start with the letter S: sumakh, skad (milk), sirke (vinegar), samani (aspecial millet porridge), sabzi (greens) e
On “Akhyr Cheshenbe” before dark there comes the time of fortune telling. Girls and young men sneak to doors of their neighbors and “overheard” their conversation; then on the basis of the first words they have heard they try to tell their fortune and guess if their wishes will come true.
Among holiday ceremonies the most important one is the cooking of samani (millet porridge) which is a symbol of nature and human fertility and has a cult value. The ceremony of the cooking of samani is accompanied by ceremonial songs and dances.
The last day of the old year
The last day of the old year is considered a special feast by Azerbaijanis. On the holiday entire family gather at home. For the head of the family a special mat is laid. He says prayers; no one is allowed to eat without his permission. As soon as the gun shot sounds signaling the beginning of the meal, the mistress brings in milk pilau. If the gate is open on this day it means that the host is at home. If visitors come to the house they are welcomed by the eldest son or the nephew of the host. The guest is then offered rose water for hand washing and invited into the house. The head of the family gives a sign and the tea is immediately served for the guest. Such visits are paid for three days. Then there comes the women’s turn to celebrate Novruz for a week.
Finally the holiday starts. Everyone puts on new clothes and begins partying. Nobody works on this day.
Today in Azerbaijan the official celebration of Novruz comes on March 21st. On the first day of the New year it is a tradition to rise early in the morning. If it is possible people go where water is -to a river or a spring: wash themselves, splash water on each other. Water is a symbol of cleanliness and freshness. Right there they treat each other with sweets. On this morning it is obligatory to eat something sweet for example honey or sugar. Then it is necessary to smell a fragrant smoke that is the way of getting rid of “evil spirits”.
They are sumakh, skad (milk), sirke (vinegar), samani (aspecial millet porridge), sabzi (greens) etc . Except for the listed dishes there should be a mirror, a candle and a painted egg on the table. All these have a symbolical significance: a candle means light or fire protecting a person from evil spirits. An egg and a mirror are necessary to mark the end of the old year and beginning of the first day of the new. Azerbaijanis put the painted egg on the mirror. As soon as the egg moves the New Year begins. Everyone sitting at the table starts wishing a happy new year to each other.
As a rule during holidays the doors are not locked. It means that the family is home and glad to welcome guests. Children visit their friends and relatives with little bags for holiday presents.
On the first day of the New Year the houses should be lit all night long. Putting the light offs evil.
New Year celebrations are finished on the 13th day of Novruz. On this day in the city outskirts are held mass parties with traditional games and contests like horse or camel races in which both men and women take part. The ancient spring holiday – Novruz bairamy – is one of the oldest and most beautiful Azerbaijani traditions.
Research by: Ulduz Tourism