New Year’s Eve in Azerbaijani Style

New Year, marking a new chapter in life, new hope, and cheer, new plans and activities, is approaching!

Although it is hard to believe, the final days of 2019 are coming to the end. Even though most students are going to the New Year with winter holiday or “grade submission deadlines” in their mind, for almost everyone, it is a chance to celebrate a new beginning!

The New Year is a family holiday in Azerbaijan and most people commonly celebrate it at home, with their closest relatives or friends, laughing on funny stories, and exchanging the beautiful memories.

It is common to include different meals as well as traditional national dishes in the table, such as Plov (a rice dish, usually served with meat, prunes, raisins, and chestnuts), Lavangi (walnut-herb stuffed chicken), Dolma (a dish consisting of ingredients such as meat, rice wrapped in vine, cabbage leaves or stuffed to tomato, eggplants, and peppers), etc. The usual tradition is that right before midnight, everyone unites around the table of beautiful dinner and gives a toast to the next year. People usually drink a glass of sparkling wine of many types, which bakunians call Champaign. 

Towards 31 December, traditionally a New Year Tree (like Christmas-tree) is decorated in each house and it is usually removed after the Old New Year passes – 13 January. The main attributes of celebration are “Father Frost” called Shakhta Baba (like Western Santa Klaus) and Snow Maiden which is called Karkyz.

Another way to spend the New Year in Baku is going out. Numerous events are held in Baku, including colorful performances, contests, concerts, and parties lasting through the night. Most restaurants in the city center are open much longer than usual so it is also another option to spend the last hours of the year.

For those who wish to feel the New Year spirit, the most charming way to feel the festive vibes is to go to the annual New Year fair wonderfully named Cold Hands, Warm Heart.  Every year the charitable project is held in the city center, where the raised funds are used for the surgery and treatment of children who suffer from various diseases. Everyone can purchase a variety of Christmas gifts, books, souvenirs, clothes, and much more in 47 houses set in the Fountain Square.

Usually, as soon as the Clock Tower chimes midnight, Azerbaijan meets New Year with the fireworks along the Baku Boulevard. Each year people gather in the city center to see a spectacular view of the fireworks, demonstrating the beauty of the New Year’s atmosphere.

Since it is the public holiday, the very first days of the new year can be considered as the laziest days of the year as many people do not work. However, the most famous and chain stores, as well as malls are open.

Moreover, International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis of the world is celebrated every year on 31 December, in Azerbaijan as well as in other countries with Azerbaijani Diasporas. The primary idea of this holiday is the unity of Azerbaijanis from all over the world. 

New Year is a wonderful holiday, marking the beginning of new ideas, hopes, dreams, and actions; people are ready to believe that their dreams will come true.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy New 2020 from ESN Azerbaijan! May the upcoming year be filled with joy, love, and happiness.


Written by Turkan Valizada,