Azerbaijan marks Novruz holiday
Novruz is the symbol of winter leaving and spring coming. According to scientists, the holiday has an ancient history. They relate the Novruz holiday with the period of the prophet Zardush that dates 3500-5000 years back.
This holiday was celebrated in ancient Babylon for 12 days, beginning in Nisan (March, April) 21. Each of the 12 days had their ceremonies and enjoyments. According to the first inscription, the holiday of Novruz was established in 505 BC.
Islamic figures always try to explain this holiday from a religious point of view. But the prominent enlighteners Firdovsi, Rudaki, Avisenna, Nizami, Sadi, Hafiz and others proved that the age of Novruz is older. Nizami's 'Siyasetname' and Omar Khayyam's 'Novruzname' are dedicated to the Novruz holiday, Trend reports.
Novruz was unofficially celebrated in the Soviet period, for the reason that the government prohibited the celebrations and pursued people.
Novruz also has interesting traditions relating to water and fire. Being the Land of Fire, Azerbaijan has rich traditions relating to it. Bonfires are lit at Novruz and before the holiday comes people in Akhir Charshanba, whatever their age and gender, jump seven times over one, or once over 7 bonfires. Young boys and girls take the ash of the fire and throw it far from the house - all the mischance of the family is thrown away with the ash. Jumping over flowing water in the New Year one clears oneself from one's faults in the past year. Family members splash water at each other before going to bed at night on the eve of New Year's day.
The peak of Novruz is the time when the past year gives its turn to the new one. According to old traditions, pistols are fired in honour of Novruz at that moment.
Azerbaijanis pay particular attention to the table laid for the holiday. There should be 7 varieties of food on the table the names of which start with the letter 's' , for example sumakh (a kind of spice), sirke (vinegar), sud (milk), samani (grown wheat), sebzi (fried meat with greens). A mirror with coloured eggs on it and candles should also be on the table. The candle is a symbol of fire and light (keeping a person from harm), the mirror is a symbol of happiness.
According to tradition, all the members of the family should be at home on the first day of the holiday. People say: 'If you are not at home on the day of the holiday, you will live without a home for seven years'.
Spring will come to Azerbaijan on March 20 at 20:57, the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory said. This day is the eve of the Novruz holiday. March 20-28 are official days off in Azerbaijan, according to a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers.