This year, on the territory of Azerbaijan, spring came into its own on March 20 at 07:06 p.m. Astronomically, the holiday coincides with the spring equinox (Vernal Equinox).

Novruz Bayram (the holiday of spring and New Year) is one of the most ancient and beloved in the East. In ancient times, in the East, March 20-21 was considered the first day of the New Year, the holiday symbolizes the awakening of the earth and its readiness for harvest, as well as the awakening of all living things.

According to ancient oriental popular beliefs, the human being was created of four elements - air, fire, water and earth. These elements are reflected in the Novruz attributes and rituals.

For Turkic nations, the coming of spring symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. People light candles in memory of loved ones who have died, and to show respect for past generations. In some Azerbaijani regions people still light candles on graves, although Islam disapproves of lighting candles.

Holiday attributes

Fire, which symbolizes purification, is among the main attributes of the Novruz holiday. In the Novruz songs and proverbs fire eats evil and all troubles.

While jumping over the fire, people give the fire all their troubles, leaving them to the past year.

The tradition of reconciliation symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil.

In Soviet times, Novruz, regarded as a religious and a national holiday, was banned in Azerbaijan.

Games and performances were very popular during the holiday, but the majority of them have been forgotten or lost. The most popular ones are fortune-telling and collecting of sweets during the holiday evening.

On the holiday"s eve people should visit the graves of close relatives, the homes of the sick and poor, and bridegrooms should bring special presents to their brides.

Holiday table

The main attribute of Novruz - the holiday table - must be decorated with pilau (rice), semeni (young wheat plant), a tray with colored eggs, nuts, dried fruits, paxlava (baklava) and shakarbura (a crescent-shaped small cake stuffed with ground nuts and sugar).


Historians believe that Novruz originated in ancient Mesopotamia, where such famous cultural centres as Sumer, Babylon and Assyria emerged. In Babylon, the New Year was celebrated on the 21st day of nisanu (March-April) and lasted 12 days. Each day had its own rituals, performances, and entertainments. Novruz is also connected with Zoroastrianism. In Persian, Novruz means "new day", but in Turkic countries the spring holiday was named Turan (in Chuvashiya this holiday is still called Tura). The ancient Chinese chronicles and the Turkish dastan (national epic) Ergenekon created 3,000 years ago proves that.

In ancient times, the New Year coincided with the beginning of nature's awakening, normally in March. Moses also adopted the law, in which the New Year arrives in the month of Aviv (Ears), March and April in our calendar. In Germany, France and the UK, the New Year was moved from March to January only in the 16-18th centuries. In Rome, the New Year was also celebrated in March, but Julius Cesar introduced a new calendar in 46 B.C. January was named in honor of the two-faced Roman God, Janus. In China, the New Year was celebrated at the end of winter until the monarchy was overthrown in 1911. 


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