Azerbaijanis Tightening Belts Ahead of Traditional New Year, Novruz

Azerbaijanis are getting ready to celebrate Novruz or Persian New Year on March 21.

Azerbaijanis are getting ready to celebrate Novruz or Iranian New Year on March 21.

The date coincides with the vernal equinox, the beginning of spring.

Celebrated for over 3,000 years, it is one of the oldest holidays observed across the world, and is especially important for Iranians, Afghans, Tajiks, Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Uzbeks and a number of other Turkic nations, such as the Uyghurs in China’s autonomous Xinjiang region.

The celebration of Novruz includes a number of rituals and observances to usher in the spring season, including: house cleaning; the festival of Charshanbe Bayrami (celebrated every Tuesday for a month before Novruz to celebrate the four elements: water, earth, fire and wind); decorative tables (haft seen, 7 objects that being with the Arabic letter “seen”) that include greenery, sprouts, sweet pudding, dried fruit, garlic, fruits, nuts, sweets, vinegar and other items; and the famous khoncha – a large silver or copper tray with sprouted wheat seeds.

However, this year, the economic crisis that began in 2015 will once again prevent Azerbaijanis from celebrating the holiday with as much gusto and excitement as they did in former years – many are unable to buy even simple items such as nuts or other fruits, and have had to tighten their belts.

The manat has suffered two major devaluations in the past two years after global oil prices plummeted, dropping from 1 USD / .78 AZN to 1 USD / 1.05 AZN overnight in February of 2015. Towards the end of the year in December, an even more devastating devaluation brought the exchange rate with the US dollar down to 1 USD / 1.55 AZN.


official statistics

show that inflation has been rising at about 8 – 12 percent per year since 2015.

Meydan TV went to a local market to talk to Baku residents about how the economic crisis will affect the holiday celebrations.

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