The very first sign of spring should be in the air as today is Water Tuesday in Azerbaijan, the first of four Tuesdays before Novruz, APA reports.
The four Tuesdays before Novruz are named after the four elements: water, fire, earth and wind.
Based on folk tales, water in the first Tuesday purifies and stirs, fire in the second Tuesday, land on the third Tuesday and wind in the fourth Tuesday revives nature and trees begin to blossom, which symbolize spring.
Each "Chershenbe” (Tuesday) has its own traditions. The first is "Su chershenbesi” or Water Tuesday. On this day, girls go to the river or a spring to collect water, singing as they go. A drinking bowl with pure water is then placed on a tray or "khoncha.”
Traditions related to water symbolize the New Year in Azerbaijan. Jumping over flowing water one cleanses oneself from one's mistakes. Family members splash water on themselves before going to bed on New Year's Eve.
There are many beliefs and traditions connected with water and Water Tuesday.
The first day of the ancient holiday of Novruz falls on the spring equinox, 20 or 21 March, the day when the hours of daylight approximately equal those of darkness.
The Noruz holiday is rich with ancient traditions and games. Khidir Ilyas is the symbol of productivity and Kos-Kosa shows that spring is coming.
The holiday heralds the arrival of spring and marks the start of a new year.
On September 30, 2009, Novruz was included into UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. On February 23, 2010, UN declared March 21 the International Day of Novruz.
This holiday is solemnly celebrated in Azerbaijan.