Azerbaijani people widely celebrate spring as the season of festivity
Azerbaijani people widely celebrate Novruz as the symbol of winter's leaving and spring's coming.
The holiday starts either 20th March or 21st March, on the spring equinox, when the days and nights are equal lengths.
Many ancient traditions are associated with this spring feast. Candles are lit according to the number of family members. Like many years ago, people make bonfires and jump over them to leave all the troubles behind.
Azerbaijani people celebrate four pre-holiday Tuesdays before the spring festival. Each Tuesday is dedicated to the awakening of one of nature's elements: Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday) Yel Chershenbesi (Wind Tuesday) and Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth or Last Tuesday).
In Novruz, all families gather at home and enjoy delicious traditional pastries like shekerbura, pakhlava and shor gogal.
Each of the Novruz sweets has a symbolic meaning. Pakhlava stands for the four parts of the world, gogal symbolizes the sun, shakarbura – the moon, while the eggs painted for Novruz are a symbol of life.
Holiday sweets, candles and samani (wheat seeds) are put on a tray, known as khonacha.
Another ceremony that is associated with Novruz is growing samani in a plate. It is believed that if samani grows well, then the year is expected to be very productive.
All days of Novruz are accompanied by ancient ceremonies and traditional games like Kos-kosa, Khidir Ilyas and fortune-telling.
During Novruz, people give each other a holiday portion called "Novruz payi", which includes holiday pastries, samani and candles.
One of the golden rules of the holiday is that people should not curse, lie, swear or gossip.
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