Azerbaijan is a country where national traditions are well
preserved. Celebrating the following days became the part
of Azeri traditions.
International Women's Day - March, 8 Celebrates women.
Victory Day - May, 9 - Day of celebration of the
II World War veterans.
Republic Day - May, 28 - The Azerbaijan Republic.
The revival again finds the independence.
Novruz Bayram - March, 20-21
In Ancient times Novruz meant beginning of the New year,
of spring, awakening of life. According to the people's
calendar, in Azerbaijan the year is divided into four seasons.
Before Novruz` coming, everybody celebrated the 4th Wednesday
"Chershenbe", that corresponds to four life elements
- water, fire, ground and air. The culmination of the holiday
is the day of Novruz.
On that day, the old year gives all its power to the new
year. The joyful, merry holiday of Novruz, having a lot
of customs, ceremonies, performances, games and songs, was
and is now the spiritual wealth of the Azerbaijan people.
Mass festive gatherings are organized on that day.
National Salvation Day - June, 15
On that day, Heydar Aliyev returned to the leadership of
the Republic. Positive changes which resulted from this
event; political - economical stabilization of the country,
and recognition all over the world make this day a state
Independence Day - October, 18
On that day in 1991, the constitutional act "About
the State Independence of the Republic" was adopted.
Constitution Day - November, 12
On that day, in a referendum by all eligible people, the
Azerbaijan Republic Constitution was adopted and also, within
the framework of the conclusion, was the Contract of the
Century for the first oil.
National Revival Day - November, 17
On that day in 1988, a meeting of several days began in
Azadlig square in Baku. This meeting was organized by the
students of the Republic. In 1992 this day became a holiday.
Solidarity Day for all Azeri people - December, 31
On that day in Istanbul, the 1st World Congress of the Azeri
people took place. The Holiday was established in 1992.
(Ramazan Bayram)-the last day of Ramadan is called
Id-al-Fitr Day. As is implied from the name of this holiday,
the faithful, who have been fasting for a month, bring a
fitr to a representative of the clergy. A Fitr is a gift.
It is usually food or money, and quite often both. During
this holiday there are many congratulations, entertainments
Gurban Bayram The holiday of sacrifices, which is
the most respected among Moslem holidays. It is celebrated
70 days after the end of Uraza Bairam (Ramazan Bairam).
This holiday is connected with the Biblical prediction about
the prophet Abraham (Ibragim), who wants to sacrifice his
son Isaac (Ismail) to God. At the last moment God sends
the archangel Gabriel (Jabrail) with a lamb and saves Abraham's
son. To commemorate this day, each Moslem must sacrifice
(gurban) a sheep or some other animal, while reading prayers
and then distribute the meat among the poor.
There are also different etiquette rules that are always
associated with Azeri traditions.
Meeting and Greeting
-Like most cultures in the area, Azeri people like warm
and friendly greetings.
-Men greet each other with a handshake, a kiss on the cheek
and "salaam" (literally 'peace' but meaning 'hello').
-Women hug and kiss each other once on the left cheek. Azeri
women do not generally shake hands among themselves, although
many will shake hands with a foreigner.
-Males should wait and see if a woman extends her hand (although
most will the more religious may not) - if they do shake
-Always take a moment to ask about family, health and business.
-First names are generally used in social situations if
the speakers are of similar ages.
-If you do not know the person well, use their first name
followed by an appropriate title. For women, use "hanum"
("woman"). For men, use "bey" ("Mr").
-Younger people always initiate greetings with older people.
Gift Giving Etiquette
-Azeri people mainly exchange gifts for birthdays, weddings
-In Azeri culture it is the thought behind the gift, rather
than the price, that matters.
-It is customary to refuse a gift at least twice before
reluctantly accepting it. Always insist it is too much and
the giver should not have gone to any trouble.
-If you are invited to an Azeri's home for dinner, bring
flowers or pastries to the hostess. Ask the shop where you
buy them to wrap them for you. It is considered polite to
reciprocate hospitality with a small gift.
-Always give an odd number of flowers. Even numbers are
reserved for funerals.
-Avoid giving alcohol unless you are certain your host partakes.
-Gifts are generally not opened when received.
If you are invited to a Azeri home for food:
- Remove your shoes before entering the house. You may be
offered slippers to wear.
-Punctuality is not paramount. Arriving within 30 minutes
of the stipulated time is socially acceptable,
-Dress casually but smartly. Never wear tight or revealing
-If there are many people present shake hands with everyone.
-Table manners are fairly formal. If in doubt watch what
-Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown
to a particular seat.
-Keep your elbows off the table and your hands above the
table when eating.
-The hostess generally serves the food. The elderly are
served first, then the guests, and finally the children.
-Use your right hand only to eat and to pass things.
Business Etiquette Basics
-Although direct communication is seen as a postive in Azerbaijan,
one also has to be careful to employ such directness.
-Information should always be presented in a way that is
diplomatic and sensitive so as not to cause loss of face.
-The level of directness you can use is dictated by who
you are speaking with.
-If it is a new, formal or important relationship diplomacy
s critical. If the relationship is well developed and a
level of openness has been established a little more honesty
Folklore and Superstition
Azeri culture, due to its rural roots and culturally rich
tapestry, has many superstitions. Examples include:
- A cat crossing your path means bad luck in business.
- Salt accidentally spilled means you are about to quarrel.
Sprinkle sugar on the salt to counter this.
- Leaving scissors with opened blades brings misfortune
and even death.
- If you meet a person with empty buckets, you are bound
- If you meet a person with bread and full bags, you will
have good luck.
- Never hurry to a funeral ceremony.
- Do not cross the way the funeral train goes.
- If the first person you meet on your way to work is male,
you will have good luck.
- Do not lend money or bread at night.
- Throwing a bowl of water in the wake of a person who sets
off for a business trip or long journey brings the person
luck and helps them to return home safe and sound.