March 18, 2009

Novruz (New Day)

Posted in Journal tagged , , at 5:10 pm by Jenn

Novruz, pronounced Nov-ruz is the most popular holiday celebrated in Azerbaijan.  The holiday was prohibited for 70 years during Soviet times.  Novruz is observed on the first day of Spring, though celebrations begin four weeks before.  The four Tuesdays before Novruz are devoted to one of the earth elements – water, fire, earth and wind. 

On the last Tuesday – Wind Tuesday people light bonfires and jump over them.  It is believed that doing this is an act of purification.  Unfortunately, I didn’t capture any pictures of these bonfires because I’m a day behind in my brain and I thought today was Tuesday, which is the whole reason for this Novruz post, which I’d intended to name Windy Tuesday, but St. Patrick’s Day through me a curve…so sorry.  I’m sure there will still be bonfire photo ops as this seems to be a Noruz favorite.

One tradition that I’m anxious to witness is the holiday table (because we all know I love food).  The table is set with a white cloth to represent purity and the table must have seven items beginning with the letter “s”…

Sumaq (sumac) – for the color of the sun at sunrise

Sumani (wheat sprouts) – sweetness, fertility, having many children

Sikke (coins) – good luck

Su (water) – purity, rebirth and health

Sabzi (vegetable) – purity and good fortune

Sud (milk) – health and natural beauty

Sarikok  (yellow ginger) – sweetness in life

Another tradition which I find interesting is “papag atdi”, meaning hat throwing…this is similar to the American tradition of “trick or treat”.  Children visit their neighbors and leavetheir caps or a basket on the door step.  The children, knock then hide to see if they will be receive candy, nuts or treats.  We didn’t receive any papag atdiers last night and from my understanding this tradition is also supposed to occur on Wind Tuesday….bummer.  That would have been kind of fun although I honestly don’t know what I would have given out as treats…

There are many other traditions celebrated with Novruz including not locking doors.  On the first day of the NewYear houses are lit all night long because switching off lights is considered bad luck.  Novruz is also a time for renewing friendships.

Tomorrow the Embassy will be having a Novruz event (including bonfire) so I’ll be sure to take a picture or two of some of the traditional items.  Til then I leave you with this picture


This is a vendor selling the sprouted wheat grass.  These are hot items right now.  Every Azeri home is guaranteed to have at least one so why not make the most of it.

Lastly, this has nothing to do with Novruz, but here’s a picture of Missy “the I”ve just been knitting for 3 weeks and I already have 4 projects cast on knitter” sporting her first finished object – a garter stitch scarf made with a gifted skein of Lion Brand Homespun.  You go girl!




  1. Mom said,

    Just think how much fun the cats would have eating all that grass!!!!

    I thought about buying one for Max. If there are any left I will buy him one this week.

  2. C said,

    Sounds fun! Looking forward to pictures!

    The pictures turned out great! I’ll post a few of my favorites soon. The others will be in my facebook album.

  3. Jessica said,

    WOW! I love that picture of the grass on the lada. Great shot!

    We are working on a “Loaded Lada” collection of our very own. That was shot #2 for the collection.

  4. […] to Walk in Stilettos also noticed some of the same traditions, and especially those associated with food. One tradition that I’m anxious to witness is the […]

  5. […] Learning to Walk in Stilettos ha osservato alcune delle stesse tradizioni [in], soprattutto quelle associate al cibo. Una tradizione a cui sono ansiosa di assistere è la […]

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