Azerbaijanis celebrating Novruz holiday | Eurasia Diary -

24 October, Saturday

Azerbaijanis celebrating Novruz holiday

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Today Azerbaijanis mark one of the favorite holidays, Novruz.

The holiday will be marked this year on March 21 at 01:58 as day and night will equal on that day.

Novruz preparations usually begin a month before the festival. Each of forthcoming 4 weeks is devoted to one of the four elements and called accordingly in Azerbaijan. Each Tuesday, people celebrate the day of one of the four elements - water, fire, wind and earth.

People do house-cleaning, plant trees, sew new dresses, paint eggs, make national pastries such as shekerbura, pakhlava, shorgoghal and a great variety of national cuisine. Wheat is fried with kishmish (raisins) and nuts (govurga).

Novruz is a family holiday. On the eve of the holiday the whole family gathers around the holiday table laid with various dishes to make the New Year rich.

The decoration of the festive table is khoncha, a big silver or copper tray with Samani, green shoots from wheat seeds placed in the centre, and candles and dyed eggs by the number of family members around it. At least seven dishes should be served.

Novruz also has interesting traditions related to water and fire. Being the land of fire, Azerbaijan has rich traditions. Fire is the symbol of purification and clarification. Both men and women jump seven times over a fire and say, "'Give me your redness and take my yellowness." The fire is never put out with water but is left to burn out. Young boys and girls take ashes from the fire and throw them far from their houses, which symbolizes throwing away all of the family's misfortunes.


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