March 20 marks Azerbaijan’s Novruz festival, and this year it’s special

By | Rachel Brooks

March 20, 2021

“File:Qubada Novruz bayramı 2013 (08).JPG” by Cekli829 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 A Novruz festival in 2013. 

Azerbaijan celebrates its first Novruz after the Second Karabakh war. The agreement to end the second episode of the 30-year conflict, along with the liberation of lands occupied by Armenian forces during the First Karabakh conflict, has stimulated a sense of hope. 

What is Novruz?

Novruz is a traditional Azerbaijani holiday that celebrates the New Year and the coming of spring. A major event, as revered in Azerbaijan as the Chinese New Year’s festival is to the people of China, preparations for the spring annum festival begin a month before celebrations. The prep time itself is considered a holiday, with the end of winter, known on the traditional festival calendar as Charshanbas, beginning in roughly February. The Charshanbas celebrate the end of winter and the coming launch of spring. Charshanbas are held in succession, as the cycle of purifying nature is observed. 

Novruz festivals include traditional music and dancing, along with costumed festival-goers, and massive arranges of flowers. 

This year, Azerbaijan’s Novruz special comes after the events of the Second Karabakh conflict. This makes the celebration a special one. This fact was even noted in the international press, such as by The Washington Post.

Celebration events 

On March 20, AzerNews reported that the organization Azercell presented Novruz gifts to the families of the heroes of the Karabakh conflict. Azercell has organized a charity event to present these gifts, in the spirit of the holiday, which promotes communal care and a spirit of sharing among the Azerbaijani people. 

AzerNews reported that Azercell volunteer groups met with 400 veterans and fallen hero families. The funds that were raised under the Azercell Novruz campaign were dispersed among the veteran and fallen hero families and were used to purchase cookies, Novruz gifts, and daily essentials such as food items. These gifts and meals were delivered in white boxes, with the purple Azercell graphic on the side of the box.

In addition to volunteer celebrations, foreign diplomats had remarks for the festivities. AzerNews reported that the U.S. ambassador Lee Litzenberger congratulated the Azerbaijani people on March 20 for their Novruz holiday.

Litzenberger remarked that he had visited Azerbaijan before for Novruz in March 2019. He recalled even then when the nation was still occupied in many regions, how the people of Azerbaijan flocked to the streets in new clothes, while cultural performers spun through the celebrations in colorful costumes.

“n the US, Novruz has recently become a welcome addition to our diverse cultural calendar, thanks to immigrants from Azerbaijan, and other countries in the region,” said Litzenberger, as he was quoted by AzerNews.

“While COVID-19 has made large-scale celebrations more difficult, it’s my sincere hope that all of you will be able to enjoy a safe and happy holiday, and we will be able to all celebrate together next year.”