Azerbaijan celebrates Water Tuesday of Novruz Holiday
Today, Azerbaijan is celebrating the Water Tuesday (“Su Charshanbasi”), one of the four festive Tuesdays before the most-loved ancient holiday of Azerbaijani people - Novruz Holiday.
Azerbaijani people has a number of holidays celebrated from the earliest times and connected with agriculture, cattle breeding and harvest.
Novruz unites all these holidays and signifies coming of a new astronomical year, a waking-up of nature.
Novruz is celebrated every year on the 20-21-22 of March, from the moment of coming of vernal equinox.
Like centuries ago, every year Azerbaijani people on the eve of Novruz celebrate the last four Tuesdays of winter.
The four Tuesdays in the run up to Novruz symbolize the four elements called Su Charshanbasi (Water Tuesday), Od Charshanbasi (Fire Tuesday), Hava Charshanbasi (Wind Tuesday), and Torpag Charshanbasi (Earth or Last Tuesday).
On Water Tuesday, Azerbaijanis start to grow samani (sprouted seeds), which symbolizes sowing and a rich harvest, and represents grain, bread, increase and abundance.
Novruz is a symbol that winter has ended and the advent of spring, an affirmation of life in harmony with nature, an indication of equality and fraternity, as well as renewal of nature.
The centuries old history of Novruz celebrations in Azerbaijan has left its mark on our poetic heritage of the past millennium.
From classics to contemporary poets, numerous poems were dedicated to Novruz, and Novruz songs, which are samples of verbal folklore or were created by professional composers, became a talking point among the people. The genius, 12th century Azerbaijani thinker and poet, Nizami Ganjavi, indicates in the series of masnavis, which the country’s literary tradition has named “Khamsa”, that the Novruz holiday was celebrated in 350 BC, i.e. 24 centuries ago.
Just like many centuries ago, today, the Azerbaijani people celebrate the last four Tuesdays of the year as “end of year Tuesdays”.
Each Tuesday has its own traditions. Folk belief has it that water purifies and stirs, fire, earth and wind awaken the nature, and trees begin to blossom, symbolizing spring’s arrival.
Water symbolizes the beginning of life, and water is renewed on this day.
On this day, young girls used to walk to springs in the mountains to get pure water, and came back with water in their Sahangs, a traditional Azeri jug made of metal with special carvings on it. Girls used to splash water around their houses and on their relatives' faces. A bowl of water in the Khoncha, a Novruz tray with nuts and sweets, is a required attribute of Water Tuesday.
According to UNESCO, Nowruz is a historic rite observed annually on 21 March in many countries along the Silk Roads.
In recognition of the importance of this ancient rite, Novruz was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Moreover, in 2010, United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March International Novruz Day. In this way, the General Assembly provides a statement every year.
As UNESCO has put it, “celebrated for over 3000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions, Novruz promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighborliness.”