Wedding Traditions in Azerbaijan
The most densely packed with national rituals and ceremonies were and still are the wedding ceremonies.
It is impossible to describe all Azeri wedding traditions in one short article. This is how the well-known etnographist R.Babaeva described the consequence of ceremonies in Baku villages: bride selection, matchmaking, receiving consent, engagement, receiving trays of gifts, godparents' celebration, spring holiday ('Novruz bayrami') and spring gifts (first fruit and vegetables), demonstration of gifted dresses, bride bathing day, hen party with toast-master, hennah dying evening ceremony, marriage registration, first night and the morning afterwards, second and third days, bathing day after the week of marriage, first days of marriage, pregnancy period of a bride, the birth, mother and a child, bathing day for a mother, giving a name, his upbringing and education. It's a whole bright world.
Thus, we shall stop on the most interesting stages of the marriage ceremony.
The relatives of the groom send one of their lot to the girl's house. His mission is to tell about the groom's intention of wooing. It often happens that the girl's relatives do not give their consent. In that case the most respected representative groom's family member is sent to obtain the girl's parents' consent.
Under the custom the first to come to the girl's house are two women - the groom's mother and one of his close relatives. As soon as the women come to agreement, it is time for the meeting of both families' heads.
The groom's father comes to the bride's house with three respected people. With all their behavior they try to communicate their intentions.
The girl's father does not give his consent at first. He should talk this over with his daughter. When the girl is asked she keeps silent. It is the sign of her consent. However, the final consent is not yet given. It is given only during proper wooing.
The father of the groom invites his close relatives to his house. They together come to common decision on matchmaking. The girls from the groom's part meet the future bride and find out about decision. Then they inform her mother on the matchmaking date.
The bride and her family have a council. The matchmakers come to on the appointed day. If the girl is against this marriage they get a refusal. If isn't, they take some time to consider it. After a while the relatives of the groom come to the girl's home again. This time the girl's family gives their consent.
On day of the big matchmaking the matchmakers come to the bride's house. They are invited to sit on the best seats at the table. The girl's relatives are present too, but the bride and her mother are not - on this day the bride has to stay away. The father of the groom on у more time asks for the girl's family answer. "Let Allah bless them", - they answer. Everyone sitting at the table say "Amen". Then the new relatives congratulate each other.
The sister of the girl brings in tea. Sometime the dinner is served. After the matchmakers have left the sisters of the bride go to the bride congratulate her and take her back home.
After the matchmaking within a month the relatives of the groom should come to the girl's house for engagement ceremony.
On this day 25-30 people gather together: the bride's friends, her peers. They all sit down around of the bride. Then the relatives of the groom come bringing a ring, a kerchief and sweets. The sister of the groom, his brother, sister-in-law or the father put a ring on the bride's finger, cover her shoulders with the kerchief; then they treat the bride with one half of the sweets, the other they give to the groom Then the feast begins.
As soon as the groom's family has left then it is time for the hen-party. The bride take turns putting her right hand on a head of each of her unmarried friends, letting them to try on her ring. They say that the girl who is the first to try the ring will be the next one to get married.
Then the bride's friends leave carrying away the sweets.