Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
Christmas Celebrations in Azerbaijan :
Christmas Day is not a nationally recognised holiday in Azerbaijan and the celebration of Christmas has a strong Western influence in the bigger cities such as Baku. The occasion is marked with the exchange of presents and church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The people of Azerbaijan, mainly Muslim, celebrate only two holidays nation-wide – New Year & Novruz Bayram.
Apart from the capital city of Baku, Christmas is also celebrated in some other cities like Ganja, Sumqayit, Mingachevir, etc.
Christians in Azerbaijan face strict controls from local authorities. Church services may be raided, and churches experience threats and harassment of various kinds. Christian literature is heavily censored. This all happens despite laws that expressly prohibit the government from interfering in religious activities. It is clear that the government gives preferential treatment to the official bodies of those religions considered “traditional” (Islam, Russian Orthodox Christianity and Judaism), while other forms of Christianity are actively restricted.
In spite of this, Christians find the opportunity to observe Christmas, although celebrations are more low-key than in the West. Christmas Day is not a nationally recognised holiday in Azerbaijan and the celebration of Christmas has a strong Western influence in the bigger cities such as Baku. The occasion is marked with the exchange of presents and church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Azerbaijan is cold and crisp in winter, with snowfall common at higher altitudes.
Friends and families get together on Christmas Day and, although it is not traditional in Azerbaijan to mark Christmas with a special feast, many do prepare different meals from usual. Traditional Azeri food includes Baliq, Dolma, Dograma and Lavangi. Azerbaijan also boasts delicious sweet and sticky nut-filled pastries such as pakhlava, shakarbura, peshmak and grimapadam.
We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2016 & Prosperous New Year !!!