Celebrations: Novruz

March 15th 2023 in Travel
Celebrations: Novruz

Novruz is one of the most important holidays in Azerbaijan, celebrated on the 20th or 21st of March each year to mark the start of spring and the Persian New Year. This festive occasion is a time of joy and renewal, with people coming together to enjoy traditional foods, music, and dancing. Here is a closer look at what Novruz means to the people of Azerbaijan.

The History of Novruz

The roots of Novruz can be traced back over 3,000 years to ancient Zoroastrian culture, which considered the coming of spring to be a time of spiritual rebirth and renewal. The holiday was adopted by the Azerbaijani people during the 7th century, and it has been celebrated ever since.

Novruz is an ancient holiday that is celebrated in many countries across the Middle East and Central Asia. The holiday marks the arrival of spring and the start of the Persian New Year, and it is a time of renewal, joy, and celebration. The history of Novruz is fascinating and goes back thousands of years. The origins of Novruz can be traced back to the ancient Zoroastrian religion, which was founded in Persia over 3,000 years ago. The Zoroastrians believed that the coming of spring marked the victory of light over darkness and the renewal of nature. They celebrated this time of year with a festival called Nowruz, which means "new day." The celebration of Novruz spread from Persia to other countries over time, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Each culture has its own unique traditions and customs associated with the holiday, but the underlying theme of renewal and new beginnings remains the same.

Novruz is a time of joy and celebration, and people in many countries mark the holiday with a variety of customs and traditions. In Azerbaijan, for example, people light bonfires and jump over them to symbolize the transition from the old year to the new. They also visit friends and family, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional foods like samani and dolma.

Preparation for Novruz

In the weeks leading up to Novruz, Azerbaijanis thoroughly clean their homes and decorate them with traditional symbols of the holiday, such as colorful carpets, flowers, and mirrors. They also prepare traditional dishes like samani, a sweet wheat pudding, and semeni, a type of sprouted wheat that symbolizes new life.


On the day of Novruz, Azerbaijanis traditionally light bonfires and jump over them, symbolizing the transition from the old to the new year. They also visit friends and family, offering sweets and exchanging gifts. Throughout the day, people gather in public spaces to dance, sing, and play traditional instruments like the tar and the saz.

Traditional Foods

No celebration of Novruz would be complete without traditional Azerbaijani foods. Some of the most popular dishes include dolma, a dish of stuffed grape leaves, and plov, a rice pilaf made with saffron, raisins, and meat. Azerbaijanis also enjoy sweets like baklava and shekerbura, which are filled with nuts and sugar.

Novruz is a time of joy, renewal, and celebration in Azerbaijan. The holiday is a reflection of the country's rich cultural heritage and its close ties to nature. If you're planning to visit Azerbaijan during this time, be sure to take part in the festivities and enjoy the traditional foods, music, and dance that make Novruz such a special occasion.