By Laman Ismayilova
After the cold winter, Azerbaijani people are celebrating arrival of spring with a colorful feast.
Novruz is regarded as one the most beloved holidays in Azerbaijan. The spring festival marks vernal equinox, symbolizing the renewal of nature.
Although celebrated in different countries, the festival brings peace, prosperity, and solidarity within communities. Novruz is widely celebrated in countries like Azerbaijan, Albania, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and others.
Spring officially arrives in Azerbaijan on March 20-21, awakening everyone from winter hibernation.
Numerous researches have found out the link between Novruz Holiday and the prophet Zardush.
Novruz celebrations start one month before the actual holiday.
Azerbaijani people celebrate four pre-holiday Tuesdays before spring festival. Each Tuesday is dedicated to the awakening of one of the nature’s elements: Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday) Hava Chershenbesi (Wind Tuesday) and Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth or Last Tuesday).
On the last night of the old year all family members spray each other with water before going to bed "to wash off" all hardships of the old year.
Young people light bonfires on mountain tops at night and remain awake till morning. Everyone should jump over the burning fire saying a special spell.
On Novruz, all families gather at home and enjoy delicious traditional pastries like shekerbura, pakhlava and shor gogal.
Each of the sweets baked for Novruz has a symbolic meaning. Pakhlava represents 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 and sent to neighbors and friends.
Sprouting samani symbolizes rich harvest and abundance. The process of samani cultivation starts from the first week and ends up at the last week of Novruz. It is believed that if samani grows well, then the year is expected to be very productive.
Various ceremonies, traditional games and shows such as Kos-kosa, Khidir Ilyas and fortune-telling are traditionally held in country.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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