For the four Tuesdays before Novruz (Starting the end of February) families here have a celebration with lots of tea, sweet treats and FIRE JUMPING! Each Tuesday is one of the four elements, water, earth, wind, and fire. They also decorate eggs the way we do on Easter and leave hats at gates to get treats in them, sort of like Halloween the 16th of March, the last Tuesday before Novruz on the 20th and 21st I went to one of my teachers houses to celebrate.
Shefeq and her husband cooked a wonderful meal with Kebabs and other Azeri foods.
Her son and daughter built us this raging fire to jump over and we all jumped 7 times, leaving the bad things from the year before in the past and taking the good things for the year to come.
I swear it was bigger before when I was jumping but for the picture of course it looks little. Don't worry, I do it again...
Shefeq's family and I in front of our fire. This is about the size we were all jumping over.
The next day I went over to Zeyneb's again to learn how to make sheker bura, a sweet roll sort of thing they drink with tea. It's SO time consuming, it took us all day.
I'm no good at rolling out dough into these thin little sheets the way they do here!
But Zeyneb tried to teach me.
Ends up I'm better at filling the dough with the sugar, hazel nut, walnut mixture. And eating them!
Then Qazax had a big festival in the park. The sun was shinning and the whole town was out and about. All of these really great antique carpets were on display, along with old ways of making wool, cooking and clothing that was out to be seen.
These girls are in old-fashioned Azerbaijani clothes, on antique rugs with old water jugs and other really interesting things.
Each village of Qazax had a table on display of their Novruz treats and history. This was the Qarapapaq table and the women how put it together (That's where my host family lives). In the middle is wheat grass, every family grows one of these, starting to first Tuesday, to have as a table setting. Then the put candles around it and have 7 different kinds of foods around that on the table.
My site mates Connie and Susan were there. As well as a lot of the teachers from our schools, and Zeyneb and her family.
Then, on the actual Novrusz Holiday, the 20th, my host sisters and I went over the jump the neighbors huge fire!
We had to wait till it got a little smaller, but see! I did really jump over fire :)
This was our Novruz sheep--This photo was taken on request but it is kinda cute with his little bow. I did not eat him FYI. But anyone the point is, Novruz is the most celebrated holiday here in Azerbaijan. Partly Muslim with a mix of other things that mean a lot to this area and it was really amazing to be a part of the party!