By Laman Ismayilova
Today Azerbaijan celebrates Wind Tuesday (Yel charshanbasi) ahead of Novruz holiday.
The legends says that four different winds sleep underground. They go out to the surface, appear in different forms.
They say that hite wind appears in a white gown, black wind - a black, Gilavar (southern wind) is dressed in red, while Khazri (north wind) in the blue.
On Wind Tuesday, all these winds wander around the world, reviving the water and driving the fire, which in turn symbolizes the spring arrival.
Every year Azerbaijanis celebrate the last four Tuesdays of winter before Novruz. These days are named after the four elements: water, fire, earth and wind.
The legend says that God created man from earth and water, gave him warmth and ordered the wind to wake him up. Therefore, these Tuesdays are considered sacred.
On this day everyone stands under a willow tree and calls "Yel baba" and release birds from the cages.
On Wind Tuesday, Azerbaijani people traditionally make bonfires in every yard and eat pilaf. "Yel baba" ("Father of Wind") ceremonies are also conducted. These ceremonies are mainly linked with the traditions of farming.
Notably, the first day of Novruz falls on the spring equinox on March 20-21. The holiday celebrates the spring arrival and marks the start of a new year.
On September 30, 2009, Novruz was included into UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. On February 23, 2010, UN declared March 21 the International Day of Novruz.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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