Novruz, or “Novruz Bayrami” as it is referred to in Azerbaijan, is a traditional Persian holiday which celebrates the coming of Spring and the New Year. Each of the 4 weeks preceding Novruz is devoted to one of the four elements. Each Tuesday people celebrate the day of one of the four elements – water, fire, earth and wind. People do house cleaning, plant trees, make new dresses, paint eggs, and make national pastries such as shakarbura, pakhlava and a great variety of “national cuisine”. Wheat is fried with kishmish (raisins) and nuts (govurga). As a tribute to fire-worshiping every Tuesday during four weeks before the holiday, children jump over small bonfires and candles are lit.
Every year this popular, national holiday is not only celebrated by our friends in Azerbaijan, but also by members of the Azerbaijani diaspora around the world and our Houston Azerbaijani community is no different! During the past many years, HBSCA’s facilitated the celebration of Novruz with annual Gala Dinner events but this year also a special Novruz celebration for children was added to the program.
On Sunday, March 24, 2013 the center at Avondale St. in the Montrose district in Houston opened its doors for the community and while the bonfires may have lacked, the children were treated to a special performance by volunteers that told the story of the beautiful Spring Bahar’s quest to be freed from the lair of the evil Father Winter.
With the help of Kossa and his friend Kechel, the children participated in a group Easter egg hunt, which contained the clues needed to free Bahar and bring Spring and the New Year to Houston.
Luckily, the children were able to put together the clues and free Bahar, who after being set free delighted the guests with a beautiful dance that welcomed the Spring!
The successful hunt and liberation of Bahar was celebrated with traditional music, dancing, Novruz delicacies and party favors for the kids who continued their Spring adventure on the bouncy castles outside on the patio.
A big thank you goes to our sponsors at SOCAR and to the organizers, the kids and all the participants who made this celebration so special. With the coming of Spring, Novruz is one of the happiest holidays that brings families and the larger community together. Don’t forget to join us for the celebrations next year, and more so, don’t forget to sign up for an HBSCA membership as soon as possible!
For additional pictures or to watch the excitement as it happened, watch the YouTube videos by clicking below!