The Time of the Year When You Get Tired of Shekerbura
This is a holiday that stretches on. It’s great, really. Each of the last four Tuesdays has been a celebration leading up to Novruz, and now we’re on the cusp of it. These days we’re getting lots of well-wishes on our passing holiday (Bayramınız Mübarək!) and everyone is preparing the traditional meals and foods. I arrived home last night to find my host -mom making shekerbura and baklava and badimbura. Today she’ll be making plov and chicken and ləvəngi. Shekerbura is a baked pastry-type dessert, filled with sugar and ground nuts. It’s delicious. And they do a fantastic crimping of the sweet that makes it look quite impressive. AZ Cookbook has an excellent recipe with pictures and information about Novruz, too.
The other thing going on is that there’s going to be lots of guesting! For those of you not in the know, guesting is basically when you go over to someone else’s home for tea or a meal. It’s a basic idea, but it’s a big deal here, and people really love guesting a lot. It’s one of the few acceptable ways for people to visit each other and for you to visit friends. Since the emphasis on spending time with friends is a lot lower here in Azerbaijan, where family is much more emphasized, it’s a great way to get out of the home and relax a little (unless your a female, in which case you have the responsibility to make food and serve everyone). On Novruz, however, it’s like speed guesting. You go visit neighbors and family and friends, moving from house to house. You might also be settling bad relations, having that cup of tea and basically non-verbally agreeing that your previous bad relations are over. All is forgiven. I don’t think I have any bad relations to settle, but I’ll be doing a bunch of guesting tomorrow with Miri, and we’ll see how many gallons of tea and buckets of shekerbura I can consume.
You really ought to read this article about more things surrounding the superstitions and traditions of Novruz. They also talk about how Novruz was affected by the Soviet period. And there are pictures!