Traditions and Customs of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani customs and traditions have come a long way before they formed into the types that are familiar to us now. Many centuries were needed for their formation, and many events, both positive and negative, became the cause of their occurrence. Azerbaijani traditions also reflect various religious worldviews of people, the peculiarity of their mentality, and the influence of other cultures. In the 20th century, the centralized (Soviet) government of the republic tried to eradicate many of the traditions, but no one will ever be able to destroy what is part of a person in a person. That is why many ancient traditions are still alive today.

According to 800zipcodes, Azerbaijan is a country sacredly observing its national traditions. Traditions accompany Azerbaijanis from the moment of birth and throughout their lives: matchmaking, the birth of children, holidays, harvesting and much more. In addition, many traditions of Azerbaijan are embodied in the hospitality of this people, their culture, folk beliefs, national clothes, folk festivals and entertainment.

A lot of things in the country are subject to age-old customs and traditional Islamic norms, so certain rules of conduct should be observed. In public places, neatness in dress is highly valued, and there are no restrictions on wearing European or sportswear in everyday life. Also, traditionally, a very respectful attitude towards places of worship (when visiting mosques and mausoleums, one should observe the norms traditional for all Islamic countries). The locals themselves, especially women, dress quite strictly, dark colors are preferred. But much attention is paid to bright accessories and jewelry.


Azerbaijanis are widely known. In Azerbaijan, they know how to receive a guest with true Caucasian cordiality and scope. Refusal of an invitation to visit can be regarded as a personal insult. But no one will be imposed on this issue – the desire of the guest is the law, so you can always agree with the hospitable host for another time of the visit. Often the host or another interlocutor gives the guest gifts, and often not the cheapest ones, so it is recommended to have a small set of souvenirs or gifts with you. Local women, especially in rural areas, usually do not interfere in the conversation of the host with the guests, even if there are also representatives of the fair sex among them. They will lay and serve on the table, but they will probably refuse to share a meal with foreign guests, so you should not insist on this. The customs of hospitality have deep historical roots, in principle, inherent in many peoples of the world. In Azerbaijan, their origin goes back to the primitive society, when, without any questions, shelter was provided to those who had strayed from the tribe, in need of protection, lost and wandering.

Azerbaijanis also have some traditional ways of hospitality of high-ranking or respected guests. Meeting the guest at the gate of the house, a sheep was slaughtered at his feet, to the horns of which, by the way, ribbons were tied. The blood of the sheep seeped under the feet of the guest, the latter put his hand into the blood and stepped over the sacrificial animal. Sheep meat was distributed to those in need. In ancient Azerbaijan, there was a custom: if the servant took out a full bag of groceries to the guest on the road, it was a hint that it was time for the guest to return.

The hospitality of Azerbaijanis was known at one time both in the Middle East and in Russia. Sources tell how hospitably the Azerbaijanis met Peter I in Derbent, Prince Dolgoruky in Baku and Salyan, the military governor of the city of Shamakhi in Shusha, A. Bestuzhev in Guba, M.Yu. Lermontov in Gusary, professor of Kazan University I. Berezin with A. Bakikhanov.
For travelers lost in the mountains, tired, lagging behind on the way at night, shelters “aman evlyari” were once built, which have survived to this day in the Azerbaijani mountains as ancient monuments. This suggests that the Azerbaijanis showed hospitality not only at home, but also outside it, providing travelers with shelter, even in places remote from the village.
When entering the house, be sure to take off your shoes and follow the instructions of the owner. Tea is usually served first. The original Azerbaijani utensils intended for drinking are glasses of Armudu or otherwise “Bogmaly”. Both names are associated with the shape of these glasses and the associations they evoke in the minds of the people. Without them, it is difficult to imagine the tea drinking of Azerbaijanis.

In any Azerbaijani house, the first thing a guest is offered is tea. A feast always begins with tea, and it also ends with it. Moreover, tea is brought even if the guest did not come to sit with the hosts, but on business, for a few minutes.

Only in one case does an Azerbaijani not offer tea: if he does not want to see this person in his house and considers him an enemy.
In their form, glasses for tea – armudu resemble the classical figure of an oriental woman. The middle is similar to her waist – this is the thinnest part of the glass, hence the name “bogmaly”, which means cramped in translation. Another name for the glass – “armudu”, as already noted, is also associated with its shape. “Armudu” in translation means pear-like. in shape they actually resemble a pear. Armudu glasses, which can be glass, porcelain, faience, silver, etc. and a samovar make up a wonderful tea service, which is the property of every Azerbaijani family. I would like to note that the birthplace of the most ancient samovar, which is more than 4 thousand years old, is Azerbaijan.
After tea drinking, second courses, greens and fresh vegetables are served, and then – sweets or dovga. It is not customary to take food with the left hand. Rice is taken with a pinch, some dishes are also considered not shameful to take with your hand or a piece of bread. In urban settings, a meal is usually held according to European standards, with the presence of cutlery and individual portions. In rural areas, especially when it comes to some kind of community holiday, the rules of behavior at the table are more free and informal.

The teahouse is another tradition associated with the tea ceremony. Unlike the standard Central Asian teahouse, where you can drink tea and have a hearty lunch, the Azerbaijani teahouse serves only tea. Only sweets and sweets can be offered to him, but not food. In the modern understanding of a foreign person, a teahouse can be safely called a club, and exclusively for men. Here they discuss news, business, make plans, remember the past, and most importantly, maintain relationships. In a sense, this is an institution designed to maintain stability in society. Neighbors who quarreled during the day meet in the tea house in the evening. And here, in the circle of neighbors, friends, over a glass of tea, they can calmly discuss their problems and find a mutually beneficial way out of the current situation.

Of the holidays that are celebrated by Azerbaijanis, Kurban Bayram (holiday of sacrifice), orujluk (holiday of fasting) are widely celebrated. Novruz Bayram is celebrated most widely. This ancient folk holiday of the new year and spring. It is celebrated on March 21 – the day of the spring equinox. They have been preparing for it since the end of winter: they repair apartments, sew new clothes, but most importantly, they grow wheat on plates, then boil it in a special way. In the evening on the day of the holiday, a table is laid with rich dishes so that the year is rich and fertile. Small bonfires are kindled in the yards, over which older children jump under the supervision. Novruz celebration is one of the interesting folk traditions of Azerbaijan. Novruz– a holiday of spring, the onset of the new year. Before the celebration of Novruz, Azerbaijanis celebrate a number of previous days, which are holidays on the occasion of the end of the Old and the onset of the New Year. We are talking about four pre-holiday Wednesdays: Su Chershenbe (Wednesday on the water), Odlu Chershenbe (Wednesday on the fire), Torpag Chershenbe (Wednesday on the ground) and Akhir Chershenbe (the last Wednesday). According to popular beliefs, on the first Wednesday, water was renewed, stagnant waters began to move. In the second – fire, in the third – earth. On the fourth Wednesday, the wind opened the buds of the trees, and according to folk signs, spring came.

As for the traditions in clothing, national costumes of Azerbaijanis are very beautiful and original. Women’s dresses have an elegant silhouette and cut, emphasizing the flexible countries of Azerbaijani beauties. They are decorated with intricate embroidery and trimmed with beautiful “golden” braid. Men’s clothing is also very distinctive. She emphasizes their masculinity, does not constrain their rapid movements. Women’s clothes were sewn mainly from silk and velvet, and men’s clothes from cloth and homemade cashmere fabric. A notable element of the Azerbaijani costume is the underwear. She (both women’s and men’s) was sewn from canvas and cotton fabric. The rich beauties are made of silk. Women’s clothing was distinguished by the brightness of colors. Over the shirt they wore a short, fitted caftan with a pleated hem, and in winter, an additional quilted sleeveless jacket. The woman’s hair was put in a narrow straight case, and a low hat with a scarf was put on the head. Leaving the yard, especially in the city, a shawl or a special long cape – a veil – was thrown over the scarf. Shoes for men were leather poles, soft boots and shoes with upturned toes. Women wore their own knitted socks at home, sometimes with hemmed leather soles, and when leaving the house they put on mules with a small heel and sharp, turned-up toes. In conditions of sharp social inequality, large differences were observed in the clothes of different social groups of the population. Wealthy men wore clothes made of expensive materials – fine cloth, silk; The Circassian coat was decorated with chest pockets, which in the past served as bandoliers, gazyrs, and girded with a thin leather belt trimmed with inlaid silver jewelry. Rich women also sewed clothes from expensive fabrics – silk, brocade, velvet; they wore a wide leather or velvet belt with t fancy silver buckles and hanging coins. Their costume was complemented by numerous jewelry – bracelets, monisto, bells, rings. At present, both men and women wear clothes of the common European type. Separate elements of the national costume (papakhas for men, and wide skirts for women, shawls, scarves) can only be found in rural areas, mainly among older people.

The richest national rituals and ceremonies were and remain wedding ceremonies. They begin with a preliminary notification…
The groom’s relatives send a close relative to the girl’s house. He must say about the intention to come to the matchmaking. It happens that in the house the girls do not give consent to this. In this case, the most respected of the groom’s family tries to get the consent of the girl’s parents.

Tea in the Azerbaijani tradition is an indispensable attribute of matchmaking. It is not customary for the people of this country to speak directly: they say, marry your daughter to our son. The fact that matchmakers will come to the house is reported in advance, and without much publicity. In the course of the matchmaking itself, the conversation is carried on only in hints and half-hints. And the answer is also given ambiguously, and a non-Azerbaijani would not understand such an answer. In general, it is given through tea: if sugar was put in the tea offered to the matchmakers, then you need to prepare for the wedding. If sugar was served separately from tea, then this means a refusal.

The choice of names for newborns can also be distinguished as a custom. The choice of a name is usually associated with certain difficulties. Representatives of the dominant people are more free when choosing a name for a child. The choice may be on a name that rhymes with the name of the previous child, Without much attention to the meaning, the name of the former representative of the genus, or simply at the discretion of the parent or other relative.

The family and family life are the bearers of the rich traditional culture of the ethnic group. The family life of Azerbaijanis was distinguished by a large number of patriarchal relations. The man – the head of the family – was the sovereign manager of movable and immovable property, excluding his wife’s dowry. Children were brought up in strict obedience to their father and older men. The wife was in unquestioning submission to her husband, as well as mother-in-law and other older women in her husband’s house. In creating a family, giving birth and raising children, living and emotional communication, organizing leisure and recreation, housekeeping, caring for elderly parents and many other aspects of family life, various elements of the traditional way of life appear and function.

The national dances of Azerbaijan, as well as real street performances, are called an integral component of the culture of this country. Dancers dressed in national costumes circled passers-by and gathered crowds of curious onlookers around them. One of the most popular is the “kosa-kossa” ritual – dances about the arrival of spring. Young people gathered in small groups and arranged cheerful improvisations right on the street, receiving various sweets as a reward from grateful spectators. The difference between men’s and women’s dances is striking. Azerbaijani dancers reproduce the dance, to a greater extent, with the upper part of the body: head, arms, body. Girls bewitch the audience with smooth movements of the hands, the curve of the waist, a mischievous smile and head turns.

A modest, but mysterious and proud country with the beautiful name of Azerbaijan is neatly located on the Caspian Sea. Not lagging behind the progressive society, the Azerbaijani people, building gigantic complexes in the capital and other densely populated cities, developing office projects, modernizing oil rigs, continue to respect the spiritual richness of the heritage of their descendants. In Azerbaijan, both old and young strictly observe national traditions. Here, every person from infancy is immersed in a unique atmosphere of originality.

Traditions and Customs of Azerbaijan

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