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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Novruz Bayram!

This week in Azerbaijan, the holiday of Novruz is being held.  According to Wikipedia,

"Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals."

Around here, Novruz is fairly similar in importance to Christmas in the US.  And as we all know, one of the best parts of being in the Foreign Service is getting to celebrate U.S. and local holidays.  So the Azerbaijani embassy employees and the charge d'affairs hosted a Novruz party Friday afternoon. 

The party is usually held outside so that everyone can jump over the ritual bonfire seven times, but ironically it snowed Friday so we had it indoors.  

The party started off with traditional dancing and music, to which the girls had a front-row seat.  They loved the traditional costumes, and were entranced to see a girl their size dancing.  

(if you go to the source and look very carefully you might see me)

And the local TV cameramen and news photographers were entranced with our children, as each one got filmed at least two or three times.  At least nobody asked to hold the kids.

After the dancing, everyone went outside for the bonfire jumping and came back in for a big feast of lots and lots of very tasty food.  Now that it's been celebrated, hopefully spring will get the cue and hurry up and come.


Nisa said...

This is when I want to come and visit you next year. Sounds like a lot of fun. :D

I just love getting two sets of holidays. It's the best!

PaulaJean said...

I forgot it is nearly the first day of Spring. Here in the land of Eternal Spring, you forget about such things. The downside being, however, there is no glorious, hot, summer.

Edwin looks impressed by the festivities.

UnkaDave said...

Ok, OK, I've got it! You're the third from the right in the yellow costume!
I looked at the pictures in the link. What were you guys smoking in the great big hookah?

UnkaDave said...

By the way, please send along thanks to Google Translate for Wikipedia entry.