Azerbaijan celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
The first of January only began to be celebrated in Azerbaijan after the Russian Empire annexed the territory in the 19th Century.
Azerbaijanis celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks and a countdown to midnight. They have family gatherings and feast on traditional dishes and festive wines. Children go out to see Grandfather Frost, called “Shakta Baba” in Azerbaijan, and to meet the Snow Maiden, called “Karkyz” in Azerbaijan. Grandpa Frost, the equivalent of Santa, comes long after Western Christmas Day and dons a blue furry coat instead of a red suit.
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