By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Every year on March 20-21, Azerbaijan celebrates ancient and beloved holiday Novruz.
The holiday falls on the spring equinox.
In this connection, the Baku Metro has prepared mini-concerts for its passengers, who will be able to listen to live performances of musicians in the station pavilion, on March 19 and 20.
The performance of the laureate of international music competitions, pianist Fuad Alizade is scheduled for March 19 and 20 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Icherisheher metro station. Within two hours he will perform on the synthesizer works of Azerbaijani, as well as world-famous composers.
In addition, a trio of national mugham and instrumental quartet will give mini-concerts at four metro stations. Musical groups will perform alternately on March 19 and 20 from 11:00 to 13:30 in the pavilion of 28 May station, from 12:00 to 13:30 at the station Sahil, from 13:00 to 14:30 at the station Icherisheher, from 14:00 to 15:30 at the station Elmlyar Akademiyasi.
Along with this, Baku Metro CJSC will switch to an enhanced mode of operation on holidays of Novruz.
Taking into account seven non-working days - from March 20 to March 26, the work of Baku metro will go according to the holiday schedule. However, taking into account the mass festivities in the central streets of the city and the arrival of tourists, the metro plans to adjust the operating mode of some stations and train traffic. In this regard, the chairman of the ZAO Zaur Huseynov signed the convenient order.
Touching upon the Novruz, many traditions and believes are associated with this cherished holiday.
“Khidir Ilyas” (the symbol of fertility), “Kos-Kosa”- an entertaining game, which symbolizes the incoming of spring and fortunetelling are among them.
Four Wednesdays before Novruz are devoted to one of the four elements: Water, Fire, Wind and Earth. Each Tuesday has its own traditions.
As with most major festivals in Azerbaijan, a significant part of Novruz celebrations revolve around food.
The decoration of the festive table is khoncha, a large silver or copper tray with Samani (wheat) placed in the centre and candles and painted eggs representing the number of family members around it. The feast should consist of at least seven dishes the names of which starts with letter 'S', for example sumakh(a kind of spice), sirke(vinegar), sud(milk), samani(grown wheat), sebzi(fried meat with greens)etc.
There's always lots of food and sweets at Novruz.
With a filling made of nuts sugar, and aromatic spices, shekerbura,pakhlava, badambura, shor-gogal, mutaki are delicious sweet pastries traditionally eaten during spring feast.
In the evening on March 21, all family members gather at home for dinner to eat a traditional dish called pilaf celebrate the spring holiday. In some parts of Azerbaijan, on the last night of the old year, family members sprinkle water on each other. This custom symbolizes the “washing off” of all the hardships of the old year.
The holiday was given the status of an official holiday in Azerbaijan by a presidential decree dated 13 March 1990. In 2009, Novruz was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and since then, March 21 was declared the International Day of Novruz.
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