Monday, March 31, 2008


We just finished up our Novrus holiday. It is in celebration of spring and all Azeri people will tell you the calander new year may be January 1st but this is the real new year – the time of year when life returns and everything is growing – I think they are write – I was also told today that during their days in the soviet union they were forbidden to celebrate Novrus – but I think that was not exclusively for Novrus – I think it applied to all traditional Azeri holidays. The activities for Novrus stretch the whole month of march – Actually Novrus is on the 21-22 of March – but for some reason it is celebrated on the 20-21 now(?) For 4 Tuesdays before this date you make a bonfire – tonga- and jump threw it three times saying I leave all of my illness in this fire – then the Thursday before the final fire jumping Tuesday is the day all families – and by families I mean women – go to the graves and clean them and what not. On the last Tuesday/fire day the have the lost of extra fun and games – where they all cam from I am not sure – I don’t know if they are all Azeri traditions or have been picked up from other cultures – a lot of there holidays seem to have different elements in them – There is fortune telling – for the girls it revolves around marriage, one it you take a cup of water and a hair and ring from a married woman – you tie the ring with the hair and dip it in the cup of water 3 times them let it swing around in the cup clinking on the sides – however many times it clinks on the sides is the age you will be married – on that night some girls also eat VERY salty bread – then that night is they dream of a boy and he offers them water and they take it they are going to marry that boy - They also "paint" eggs (easter)– my family took eggs – tied them tightly in socks with pretty leaves pressed to them and boiled them in water with onion peals – they were beautiful – after eggs we did the hat thing – they take a hat – put it outside someone’s door knock on the door and hide – then the who ever opens the door is supposed to put goodies in the hat and put it back outside the door then you go get it (Halloween) Another ritual is that on actual Novrus night – in this case the night of the 20 and 21 people listen at others doors – if they people in the home are talking about good things it means you will have good luck for the year – if they are fighting and saying bad things you will have bad luck to everyone tries to say only good stuff – otherwise everyone is mad at you. Also every one grows this grain in a dish and then ties it with a red ribbon –just the grain is called samani and then there is another that is the grain but is surrounded by all type of food called xonca
For Novrus day yesterday I went with my family out to the village to visit their family – we went to 5 different houses in 6 hours and I was ate 4 different meals – I though I would be sick – And I did have fun but after hours of lots of new people speaking Azeri all at the same time, fast and being peered at(though not in a bad way) my head felt numb and I was exhausted – My family and all of their relatives are IDP’s. They are originally from the Agdam region, which is now occupies by Armenia – I guess my oldest sister was 1 or so when they fled – Two of the houses we went to were in n IDP camp – mad of tarps, mud bricks, plastic, reeds, old tin, what ever – it is strand though – even the most desolate house usually has a TV if not a satellite dish – Two other homes were in The New Settlements that have been built for IDPs – they are like freaky utopia, not because they are just perfect but because of how they look, especially in comparison to typical Azeri homes – all they houses exactly the same with little yard surrounded by chain link fences and individual pumps and outhouse – I love to watch the transformation – slowly they fence is covered with reeds and sticks - strand extra building are added made of any random think they can get their hands on – animals of any sort move in - etc. I just like it – the last house was my dads dad – he is a farmer – he lives in what during soviet times used to be a car garage – but by now it is all dilapidated with just skeletons of buildings left - by the time we got there it was dark but I want to go back when it is light – I hear he has two huge dogs – oh speaking of dogs, I saw something very interesting driving through the village the other day – there were two huge dogs on string with a group of people looking at them – I can only imaging by their size and the way the men were looking at them they were sheep dog and being sold – you would never see that in the city –I have on several occasions – especially when riding though the deserty sheep herders regions – seen people interaction with dogs – even petting them – I remember seem a man with a puppy following him one time – you could tell it was going to be huge and you knew it was his because he let it follow him – usually they chase them off viciously – another time I say a man just standing in the middle of nowhere with his hand resting on his dogs head - and even though they may not be respected they are valued in the villages for the service they provide – protection – I really want to get a herding dog and take him home –

No comments: