New Year Celebration in Azerbaijan
18.03.2014 - 25.03.2014
The months have flown by and I realize I have neglected updating this blog. But I do have some lovely events and places to catch you up about.
Last month Azerbaijan celebrated new year, better known as the Novruz holiday! The celebration marks the start of springtime and a new year. The preparation started a month before the actual holiday with Fire, Water, Earth and Wind weeks celebrated with bonfires and candles each Tuesday. But the proper celebration started on Holiday eve with a family dinner and Novruz games!
I was surprised to see many similarities of the Norwegian Easter traditions in the Novruz celebration. Easter and Novruz is even celebrated around the same time. Much like the modern Norwegian easter Novruz is a family-centric holiday, its a time to celebrate, eat good food, candy and be with family. Its not religious, but stems from the pre-Islamic period of Azerbaijan and its fire-worshipping traditions.
How to celebrate Novruz?
Eggs, children traditionally paint the eggs colorfully, but if you are a bit lazy just put a stamp or a plastic egg wrapper aroud it. You can also have an egg fight! You and your opponent have one egg each and takes turns trying to crack the others egg. If your egg cracks you loose.
Fire Fire plays a special role in Azeri tradition, and especially during Novruz times. During the dinner candles are lit for each person at the table. But more excitingly are the bonfires that marks the streets! All over the city people make bonfires to jump over. You should jump over it three times while wishing for what you want for the next year; this ensures you are cleansed and ready for the new year.
Sweets & games It wouldn't be a celebration without sweets. The traditional sweets for this time is Shekibura, Baklava as well as dried fruits and nuts. Children also go to the neighbors knocking the door, quickly running away before they are seen but leaving their hats. The person opening the door should leave sweets in the hat for the children to pick up later
Predicting the Future new years is often a time of reflection and making wishes for the year ahead, and that also plays a part of Novruz. Predictions in particular are important. One way is to sneak up to your neighbors door trying to eavesdrop on their conversation. This will predict what the next year will bring to you. There is also many games and activities for single girls to predict who is their future husband, I didn't manage to take a part of that this year though..
Again I should mention this is not a religious holiday, so its mainly fun and games, but it was a very interesting thing to be a part of, take a look at these clips of some of my celebration of Novruz 2014