First Tuesday of Novruz holiday brings spring closer.
By Shukur Mammadaliyev
National holidays have many things in common with history, traditions, customs and myths of a nation, and reflect people's spiritual view and moral values. One of such national holidays is Novruz, the celebration full of joy and interesting traditions.
For many centuries in Azerbaijan and across Central Asia, coming of the spring was celebrated on a special scale as the Novruz holiday.
Novruz is celebrated each year on March 21, when the sun enters the sign of Aries on the astrological calendar.
Preparation for the spring meeting lasts four weeks, and each "Tuesday" becomes a little bit of the long-awaited farewell to the winter.
Four pre-holiday Tuesdays of Novruz are Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday) Hava Chershenbesi (Wind Tuesday) and Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth or Last Tuesday), and each them is dedicated to the awakening of one of the natural elements.
It is no coincidence that the first Tuesday prior to Novruz is associated with Water Tuesday, since water is the main source of life. Water awakens the nature and life on earth is impossible without water. This year the first Tuesday falls for February 28.
According to popular belief, at this time, the water begins to wake up and snow melts, the level and activity of the rivers rises. Since water is a symbol of life, it awakens everything alive, long months waiting for the end of the cold.
As the holiday itself, Tuesdays also have own customs and rituals. Day of Water Tuesday starts with water rituals. People wake up early in the morning and go the spring to jump over the water, or tell own whishes to water. It is believed that the water brought from the spring brings plenty and abundance, as well as to drink the spring water will keep you healthy during the new year. There are also several future-telling that are realized with water. People believe that water is the source of life and clearness.
On the first Tuesday people start to grow the seeds of samani - green sprouting wheat which considered as the main symbol of Novruz.
Novruz is one of the most important and beloved in many countries around the world. Although Novruz is mainly celebrated in Muslim countries, however it is not considered as religious holiday, as it was in ancient times, but, strictly speaking, it became a celebration of the coming of the vernal equinox, symbolizing the renewal of nature.
Traditions of this holiday ascend to ancient Zoroastrianism religion. And according its beliefs, fire, air, water, earth are the main elements of the Universe, which considered this elements as sacred. And many respective past "Zoroastrianism" nations, keep this traditions and celebrations up to our days. This explains why Novruz is accompanied with this four respective "Tuesday" holidays.