New Year in Azerbaijan
New Year is one of most favorite holidays for people of the whole world. Millions of residents all over the world celebrate this holiday on the night of 31 December to 1 January. Azerbaijan began celebrating New Year with the advent of the first Russian settlers, besides the Azerbaijani residents, professing Christianity and Catholicism, have been celebrating New Year through many centuries.
The major part of the Azerbaijani population is Muslims, that is why New Year was traditionally observed on the day of the vernal equinox – at Novruz holiday. In the XIX century Azerbaijan fell under protectorate of the Russian Empire and the advent of the Russians to the country enabled western traditions to penetrate into the country. Upon annexation of Azerbaijan to the Soviet Union, New Year holiday was officially celebrated on the night of 31 December to 1 January, and following the independence, a new holiday – International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis is celebrated on 31 December, while 1 January became an official day for celebration of New Year.
New Year is celebrated in Azerbaijan the same way as in other post-Soviet countries. The main attributes of New Year are a New Year tree and Father Frost with Snow Maiden. The Azerbaijanis call Father Frost as Shakhta Baba and Snow Maiden as Karkyz, and Shakhta Baba wears a blue fur coat not a red one.
The Azerbaijanis are very hospitable people, that is why the majority of the country’s residents celebrate this holiday in the bosom of close relatives and friends. The table is served always with traditional national dishes and naturally with wine. Before the clock sings out the Baku residents come out into the street to watch traditional New Year firework. 1 January is an official public day in Azerbaijan.