There are a number of holidays which are celebrated in Azerbaijan. Gurban and Ramazan are religious holidays which have not a fixed date of celebration. Gurban is the Muslim Festival of Sacrifices. It is celebrated 70 days after Orujlug (fasting). The main feature of Gurban is killing of an animal, mostly a sheep as a sacrifice. Every Muslim family must have meat dish on that day.
Republic Day (28 May). The Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijani People (15 June), State Independence Day (18 October), Constitution Day (12 November), New Year (1 January), Novruz (20- 21 March) and others are also celebrated in Azerbaijan as holidays.
Novruz is a National Holiday in Azerbaijan. Novruz is one of the oldest holidays in the world. It‘s a universal holiday. It belongs to many peoples of the world. People celebrate Novruz as the birthday of nature and life. The Azerbaijanis celebrate Novruz on 21st March. On this day the sun crosses the equator and lightens the whole planet. We also call it ―Spring Holiday.
There are four pre-holiday Tuesdays on the Eve of Novruz. They all have got names. The first Tuesday is Water, the second Tuesday is Fire, the third Tuesday is Breeze and the fourth Tuesday is the Earth. On these Tuesdays we organize celebrations with the closest people.
Everybody must talk about good and pleasant things. Mothers cook plov. Children jump over bonfires.
Novruz rituals are very interesting. Parents usually have gifts for their children. They buy new clothing and sweets. Nature changes its clothing and people do the same. Azeri people clean and
decorate houses, yards, streets, and squares, it is time for charity too. People make khonchas and give them to the needy people. There is always pakhlava, shakarbura, gogal, sweets, cookies, nuts, dry fruit, raisins, and a big samani in the middle of khonchas.
Candles around khonchas burn and and lighten them. Spring Maiden comes on 21st March. She wears a national costume. She travels on a phayton with horses. Spring Maiden decorates her phayton with flowers, red ribbons and bells. There‘s a show with ‖Kosa‖ and ―kechal (the bald)‖. They take part at Novruz celebrations too. The look very funny in their costumes. They make people laugh at their tricks. And they ask for treats.
We sent greeting cards to our relatives. We also visit our grandfathers and grandmothers. We congratulate everybody and say ―I wish you a Happy Holiday‖.
The Unity of Azerbaijan People
The 31st of December is one of the great holidays in Azerbaijan. It is the day of the unity of Azerbaijani people. On the 31st of December peoples also see the Old Year in. As a rule they wait impatiently to see the New Year in and count up the last few hours of the Old Year. This year we celebrated both the Unity of Azerbaijani people and the coming of the New Year. There were a lot of guests from different countries who came to celebrate the unity of Azerbaijani people. Our leaders welcomed them to the capital of our Republic. There was also a great concert over TV.
A few days before this holiday you could see decorated houses, streets, cinemas, theatres, department stores and shops in Baku. There were also other decorations, banners, flags, slogans, portraits of our leaders in the shop windows and on the front of high houses. You could see also a lot of well dressed men, women, young girls and boys in all the streets, avenues, stores and shops walking and buying New Year presents.
On the eve of this holiday it snowed all day long and the trees, parks, gardens, fields, streets covered with snow, everything looked white and beautiful. Everywhere was clean, nice and bright. In Azerbaijan people had a two days‘ holiday. In our multinational republic you could also hear New Year greetings, people saying to one another ―Happy New Year to All of You!‖ Their friends answering ―The Same to You!‖