Nouruz is celebrated on March 20th or 21st. It is the New Year and Spring Festival. Nouruz literally means “New Day”. The origin of the festival is very old. It is also celebrated in other countries such as Iran. Customs include small fires in the days before Nouruz, which children jump over, and the preparation of certain dishes. In Azerbaijan there is also a custom for children to beat eggs together. Whose egg remains intact wins.
Carpets were woven in Azerbaijan in ancient times. There are four types of carpets, depending on their origin. They can be distinguished by their different patterns. These can be geometric flower patterns or leaf outlines on a blue background. In the old days every girl had to learn to knot carpets.
What are the names of the people in Azerbaijan? Typical male names are Ali, Elchin, Vugar, Anar, Elnur or Samir. Women are often called Sevinch, Günel, Leila, Aygün, Günay or Sevda. Common surnames are Mammadov, Alijev, Guseimov or Ismailov. Incidentally, with women you add -a to the surname. So a woman could be called Sevinch Mammadova.
Chess and backgammon
The game of chess is just as popular in Azerbaijan as backgammon. The country has already produced several grandmasters in chess. But you can also see chess and backgammon players sitting outside and playing.
Children and School
School in Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, children start school at the age of 6. You go to elementary school for four years and then to secondary school for five years. Two more school years lead to the Abitur.
Teaching is in Azerbaijani. This language has been written in Latin letters again since 1991 and no longer in Cyrillic. But there are a few special letters like in Turkish (see here).
Am or PM?
Depending on the grade, you have lessons in the morning or in the afternoon. The 1st and 7th to 11th grades have their lessons in the morning, the 2nd to 6th grades in the afternoon. For them it doesn’t start until 2 p.m.
Start of school days
Every school year traditionally begins with the ring. The eleventh graders take the new first graders on their shoulders and give them a bell. With this, each new student personally rings in their school days.
How are the children in Azerbaijan?
Unfortunately there is still a lot of poverty in Azerbaijan. Health care is not the best, especially in rural areas. 7 percent of children between the ages of five and 14 have a job. Most of the time, they work in agriculture and help grow and harvest cotton, tea and tobacco. There are also street vendors, others beg or help with construction. Some children no longer go to school and live on the streets. Others don’t even start school: that affects five out of 100 children.
Eating in Azerbaijan
What do you eat in Azerbaijan?
Rice, lamb and mutton as well as numerous vegetables and fruits are among the main ingredients in Azerbaijani cuisine. We also like to eat fish, after all, quite a few can be caught in the Caspian Sea and in the rivers of the country.
Fresh herbs such as mint, parsley, coriander, dill and basil are also widely used. Walnuts and dried fruits are other popular ingredients, as are pomegranates. There are a lot in common with Iranian and Turkish cuisine.
Plov and Kutab
Plov is considered a national dish in Azerbaijan. It’s a rice dish and also known as pilaf in other countries. The rice cooks in a broth and is particularly fluffy. Mostly meat, fish or vegetables are then added. There are a variety of recipes for plov in Azerbaijan.
Kutabs are also popular. These are thin, filled dumplings.
Piti, Dovğa and Dolma
Piti, dovğa and dolma are three popular dishes in the country. Piti is a stew made with mutton and chickpeas. Yogurt and spinach are the main ingredients for Dovğa. Depending on the region, rice and meatballs are added. It is seasoned with lots of garlic.
Dolma is also known in many other countries. The dishes are always filled, with vine leaves often forming the shell, but eggplants, peppers or tomatoes can also be filled. The filling usually consists of rice, minced lamb and spices.
There is tea and potato to drink
Black tea is drunk a lot. It is mostly drunk from an armudu, the special pear-shaped tea glasses are called. When guests come into the house, tea is always prepared and served first. A popular soft drink is called Schärbe. Rose water, fruits and herbs belong in it.