1st March marks second Tuesday of Novruz
By Amina Nazarli
Azerbaijan is in a festive mood these days, since the long-awaited holiday -- Novruz Bayram, symbolizing the coming of spring, will come to the country on March 21.
Preparations for the holiday of spring begins a month prior to the festive with four pre-holiday celebrations called Novruz Chershenbesi. They are told to be celebrated as a good-bye to the old year and a welcoming of the upcoming year.
Each of these four Tuesdays mark awakening of one of the natural elements that is Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday) Hava Chershenbesi (Wind Tuesday) and Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth or Last Tuesday).
Last week saw the first Tuesday, which symbolizes life, purity and freshness. The second Tuesday to be marked on March 1 will embody fire, which means warmth and comfort.
Od Chershenbesi notifies that too little remains for warm spring. It’s believed, on this day, the rays of the heavenly fire -- Sun, melts snow and nature comes alive.
Fire is somewhat sacred in Azerbaijan, also known as Land of Fire. Some scientists suggest that the presence of fire in the festive rituals is not accidental, as it is recognized as a symbol of life, what is more important, it gives warmth, showing that spring is on its way.
It is very important to light a bonfire in every yard on Fire Tuesday, since fire means the year will be warm and fertile. People jump over the fire, because it is traditionally believed that all troubles and hardships will be left behind, and the coming year will be happy and prosperous.
There is also another belief that on the Fire Tuesday no one should leave his/ her house empty and candles for each family member must be lit on the festival table.
Each year more than 300 million people in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Xinjiang Uyghur region, the Balkans and the Middle East celebrate Novruz as the renewal of nature.