By Laman Ismayilova
Today Azerbaijan celebrates the first Tuesday before Novruz, the most cheerful and long-awaited holiday in Azerbaijan.
The spring feast starts on March 20-21 but people prepare for Novruz a month ahead, celebrating the last four Tuesdays named after these elements: Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday) Hava Chershenbesi (Wind Tuesday) and Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth or Last Tuesday).
Since God created man from water and earth, water symbolizes the beginning of life, and legend has it that water is renewed on Water Tuesday.
On this day, Azerbaijanis usually do house cleaning, spade tree and flower bottoms in gardens to renew entire life. They also jump over flowing water to get rid of all troubles and sins.
Many years ago, unmarried women used to walk to springs in order to get pure water, and came back with water in their Sahangs, a traditional jug made of metal with special carvings on it. They splashed water around their houses and on their relatives' faces.
Right there they treat each other with sweets like honey or sugar. Then it is necessary to smell a fragrant smoke that is the way of getting rid of "evil spirits".
On Water Tuesday, Azerbaijanis start to grow samani (sprouted seeds), a symbol of new life and prosperity.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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