Monday, April 29, 2013

Colors of April...

Today I am posting photos that speak for themselves. This is how colorful and different April has been in Azerbaijan this year. 

When I watch and hear news it feels awkward to write about the weather though...

I pray for peace...

Be well.   

Thunderstorm and lightning in Baku (happens more often in Sheki but quite seldom in Baku) 
photo by Sevinch Ali Djafarova
Snow! in by Hummet Aliyev
Spring colors in by Turkan Mustafayeva 


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Forty days of care or Spring of Life...

Here I am back with you and its already April. I have been thinking about this post for awhile and today I will try to finish it. 

Today I will be writing about another custom in Azerbaijan. Tradition says that if the family has a new born baby, mother and child must live a "protective" lifestyle. This implies that preferably very few people should interact with both and they shouldn't be visiting places. Mother should be recovering and therefore grannies would prepare her healthy (read high calorie and energy:) meals to help her recover and feed her baby. And newborn should be adapting to life. 40 days of special care to have a protection against evil eyes (read infections, bacteria and negative energy:) to enter new life healthily and happily. This is what grannies would insist everyone to do and every region and city would have more peculiarities and details about the custom. Nowadays things are of course flexible especially in Baku. Nevertheless tradition makes a lot of sense to give some time and space for mom and baby to recover as everyone would agree that moms get exhausted quite easily and new babies are soooooo small to expose them to the world aggressively. 

With our new baby at home the majority of our 40 days fell on March. Since the weather in March is quite unpredictable people in Sheki call it crazy (dəli mart). Also this is time when people get anxious to welcome spring and many those who have issues with their health might get worse so another saying says that when March is over trouble is over (mart çıxdı, dərd çıxdı). Nevertheless March is one of the or probably the most festive month in Azerbaijan. We start it with celebrating Women's Day on 8th of March. And then the whole month is about Novruz, Novruz, Novruz and Novruz. Starting four weeks in advance of actual holiday on 20-21 March every Tuesday is devoted to one element of nature (wind, water, fire and earth). I have put different links  about the holiday to the post in case you have time and interest to look through.

Mentioned so many subjects I must confess I find it difficult to finish the post. I guess I will finish it by wishing everyone to have a beautiful and peaceful spring to notice and enjoy awakening of nature and life. Be well...

Some "home-made" photos to colour up my post... 

new baby-new life-new spring in our lives :) 
khoncha is a traditional set in Azerbaijan, when one places different desserts on one plate. Everyone strives to have a beautiful and colourful khoncha. I am blessed with talented mom, Gullar khanim, who is an exceptional cook and has a great taste for beautiful tablewear...I hope to have inherited some of her talents :) 
must element of Novruz, green sprouting wheat - semeni/samani (səməni)...we grow wheat and place it on our tables during Novruz. The process is beautifully shown on the pictures by my relative Arifa Salayeva who shared her photos from US. 
we don't only grow the wheat for Novruz but also kind of "roast" it and add it to our khonchas. Below picture is taken by my other relative Turkan Mustafayeva in their yard in Sheki . Echoing with nature they have a luxury to enjoy Novruz to the fullest...long live grannies who cherish and pass on the traditions and skills... 
young roasted wheat is quite delicious. We mix it up with nuts and raisins and its very tasty (also high energy). 
and another final khoncha for Novruz. Candles are a must. They symbolise fire and in general I love them :)