Azerbaijan celebrates Novruz – the arrival of spring
Novruz is being celebrated at the state level in Azerbaijan – an ancient holiday that marks the beginning of spring.
Novruz is the Zoroastrian New Year which begins on 20 March and coincides with the day of the vernal equinox. On this occasion, Azerbaijanis enjoy a week-long bank holiday.
It is customary to bake special sweets with nuts, to burn fires and jump over them in order to “renew” the year, as nature is renewed in spring.
Folk festivals and street performances with folklore characters also take place during the holiday.
Although this year’s entertainment programme is more modest than in the past, several street concerts have been planned for the festive week, and fairs have been organized in the city centre. However, few people have visited due to rainy weather.
The evening is generally celebrated at home with family, with a large array of dishes, including plov, sweets, nuts and dried fruits. The main symbol of Novruz is sabzeh – sprouted wheat. Another tradition is to light candles equal to the number of family members.