National holidays

National holidays

The New Year's Day (1 and 2 January);

The Women's Day (8 March);

The Victory Day over fascism (9 May);

The Republic Day (28 May);

The Day of National Salvation of the Azerbaijani People (15 June);

The Armed Forces Day (26 June);

The National Independence Day (18 October);

State Flag Day of Azerbaijan (9 November);

The Constitution Day (12 November);

The National Revival Day (17 November);

The World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day (31 December);

Novruz - five days;

Gurban - two days;

Ramadan - two days.

New Year's Day, Women's Day, Victory Day over fascism, Republic Day, Day of National Salvation of the Azerbaijani People; Armed Forces Day, State Flag Day of Azerbaijan, World Azerbaijanis Solidarity, Novruz, Gurban and Ramadan holidays are not deemed as the working days. Special attention can be attracted to national holidays.


Novruz is marked to celebrate the arrival of Spring season and means the beginning of a New Year. The first day of Spring in calendar signifies the annual turn of the Sun. Perhaps, it is the most favorite holiday for everybody.

The historical roots of Novruz Holiday go back to the very ancient times of prophet Zardusht, (Fire Worship) – its age is within 3700 – 5000 years.

This holiday has been celebrated in ancient Babylon on the 21st of Nisan month (March and April) and lasted 12 days. Every of these 12 days had its own ceremonials (rites) and entertaining events. The first tangible heritage monument says that Novruz holiday appeared in 505 before Christ.

Islam gave religious patterns to Novruz. But such great thinkers like Ferdowsi, Rudaki, Ibn Sina, Nizami, Saadi, Hafizi openly stated that Novruz holiday emerged far before Islam. Writings dedicated to Novruz are the following: “Siyasetname” of Nizami and “Novruzname” of Omar Khayyam.

Azerbaijan – the Land of Fires – has right traditions related to Fire Worshipping. The Fire is the symbol of the Redemption. “The Akhyr Chershenbe”, which means the Last Tuesday before Novruz arrival, is celebrated by making a bonfire and everyone regardless of his/her age and sex should jump over the blessed fire at least seven times. Seven times jumping over the same bonfire or one time over seven bonfires. The fire is never extinguished by water. It goes out by itself and then, boys and girls collect its ashes and throw it far away from native home. All this procedure means that the Redemption is done with ashes thrown away.

The Redemption using water is linked to the belief that it is a kind of purification force. During Novruz, if you jumped over the brook, it means that you have got the Redemption from all your past year’s sins. There is also another rite: to throw water to each other in the last night of the outgoing year. There is a saying that the night to next Tuesday before Novruz is marked by the stopped brooks and rivers. Everything tends to worship waters and even trees are bending downwards. If anyone drinks such water in New Year’s evening, will preserve himself from illness.

During Novruz, the table should have seven dishes starting by the letter “S”. It should also reflect sumakh (dried barberry), vinegar, milk, semeni (sweet soup made from wheat malt with flour), sebzi (greens) etc. Mirror and candles are also put on the table. Colored eggs are placed in front of mirror. All of this is full of many symbols: the candle means fire and light which protects anyone from the evil eye. Mirror means clarification.

Novruz is the joyful and loved holiday. Novruz is the holiday which reflects the traditional values of Azerbaijani people.


The religious holiday of making sacrifice – the Gurban Holiday is celebrated every year by all Muslim world. The religious rites of making sacrifice have existed long before Islam.

After the second year of Hijra when the prophet Mohammed has moved from Medina to Mecca, new patterns of making sacrifices in Islamic world have emerged and formed as extending assistance the poor and orphans, making good deeds to make desires come true. The religious ceremonial of making sacrifice takes its roots from the event that happened to Prophet Ibrahim. He dreamt that Allah orders him to sacrifice his son Ismail to test his belief in God. As a true follower, Ibrahim was ready to fulfill the Divine order as well as Ismail stood ready to be sacrificed. During Gurban holiday, every rich Moslem had to sacrifice an animal, share and distribute its meat to the poor and the orphans. The act of making sacrifice had to elevate anyone spiritually till the highest level of faith. The Koran says: “The Allah needs neither flesh, nor animal’s blood, but only your faith”.


The holy month of Ramadan is defined as an important month for Moslems in second year of Hijra (year of 622). The month of Ramadan teaches everyone to love with all heart the deeds of Allah passing through testing of body and strengthening of moral spirit. Moslems are fasting during that month – the procedure is called orujlug.

The history of Orujlug dates back to the second year of Hijra when Prophet Mohammed has determined the month of Ramadan for Moslems in the city of Medina. It is exactly during last 10 nights of the month of Ramadan Allah has gifted the Koran to Moslems. There is a saying that this handover is happened in the night from the 23rd to the 24th or in the night from the 26th to the 27th. This night is called “Laylat al-Qadr” - Night of Power and Might and described in the Koran as follows: “We have indeed revealed strength, might in the Night of Power; The Night of Power is stronger than a thousand months; The Angels descended down on the Earth and are waiting for the Allah's order; Peace in this Night until the rising of the dawn” (97:1 - 5).

During Orujlug, it is not allowed to eat in daytime, smoke etc. Only children, pregnant women, anyone who is seriously ill, warriors and travelers are free from fasting. Orujlug comes with the rise of a new Moon and lasts 29 – 30 days. The Koran says: “Eat and drink till you can make a difference between dark and white threads, and then respect your oruj till dusk” (2:187).

Orujlug existed even before Islam. The Koran says the following about it: “As you are instructed to respect your oruj, the same instruction was also given to your predecessors.”

Orujlug finishes with the holiday called Eid ul-Fitr. During this day, all rich and known Moslems must help the poor Moslems. Starting from 1993, the Orujlug holiday is celebrated at State level.


Source: www.president.az