Novruz Bayram, the favorite holiday of many Azerbaijanis is just around the corner.
Marking the end of the old and beginning of the new year, Novruz is celebrated on March 21 marking the end of winter and the arrival of spring.
Preparation for the holiday of spring begins with Water Tuesday, or as it is known here, Su Chershenbesi, which will be celebrated on February 23.
It is one of four pre-holiday Tuesdays of Novruz, each of which is dedicated to the awakening of one of the natural elements called Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday) Hava Chershenbesi (Wind Tuesday) and Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth or Last Tuesday).
Each of Chershenbe has its own rites. Since ancient times, on Water Tuesday young girls go to the river and other sources to bring some water.
It is no coincidence that the first Tuesday prior to Novruz is associated with water, as water is the main source of life. Water awakens the nature and life on earth is impossible without water.
Atesh Ahmadli, the research fellow of the Folklore Institute of ANAS told Day.az that with approaching Water Tuesday water renews. Snow on the slopes begin to melt and rush to rivers.
“According to popular beliefs people clean their houses with water on this day. It is also used to jump over streams. As far as I know, this tradition still exists in different regions of the country,” he said.
Talking about the menu on this day, Ahmadli underlined that people prefer flour dishes including arishta and khashil, adding that people usually decorate table with dried fruits.
Although Novruz is celebrated in Muslim countries, it is not a religious holiday relate to Islam, but a tradition dating back to Zoroastrianism, the oldest of the monotheist religions. Today people celebrate it as a tradition left over from ancient times.
Being the oldest festival of spring it’s celebrated for more than 3,000 years in the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Black Sea basin, Central Asia and Near East.
Azerbaijan, also known as Land of Fire has a rich tradition associated with fire, considering a symbol of purification.
Some scientists suggest that the presence of fire in the festive rituals is not accidental. Fire is a symbol of life, what is more important, it gives warmth, signing that spring is on its way.
Azerbaijanis and many other peoples throughout the world are happy to meet the warm spring and forget all about the gloom of winter.
Rich with different traditions, Novruz has many symbols including lighting bonfires on all of the four Tuesdays, placing hats at the door in anticipation of nuts and Novruz sweets – such as shekerbura, pakhlava and gogal, as well as colored eggs and cultivated Semeni, sprouted wheat in a bowl, which is considering an essential feature of the festival.
The second Chershenbe of Novruz Fire Tuesday is scheduled for March 1, Wind Tuesday for March 8 and Torpaq Chershenbesi for March 15.
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