Winter is over and a beautiful and long-awaited season has come – tender and warm spring. Despite that, our today’s article will be devoted to the next winter holidays. The article is meant for all those those who like to plan their holidays much in advance. We will tell you about the best winter travel destinations for 2019/2010 and thus you may start your tour bookings or reservations beforehand.
As the best travel destination for next winter we have chosen the unique and less discovered South Caucasus region, namely hospitable Armenia, hot Georgia and exotic Azerbaijan. You will learn the dates of most interesting national winter holidays worth taking part in.
Winter holidays in Armenia
Armenians are used to celebrating holidays with family. And as a hospitable nation, not a single holiday is complete without a rich festive table.
The New Year is the most beloved holiday of Armenians. The whole family gets prepared to the holiday in all seriousness. The main attribute of the holiday is the New Year’s table. It should be rich and full off tasty treats. Armenians believe that the richer the New Year’s table, the more successful the coming year will be.
As it is the most beloved family holiday, all the relatives gather at the New Year’s table and right after the midnight everyone starts visiting their neighbors and relatives. According to the tradition, on New Year’s Eve all you should forgive all the bad things and leave them behind.
In Yerevan, the New Year holidays mean beautifully decorated streets, a lot of festive lights and, of course, the main Christmas tree on Republic Square.
The Armenian Apostolic or Gregorian Church celebrates Christmas on the night of January 5th to 6th. The baptism of the Lord is also celebrated on January 6th. Christmas Eve is called Chragaluits. On this day, Christians carry the sacred fire from the churches and light candles in their homes. In the morning the main liturgy takes place in churches and ends with the consecration of water.
For Armenians Christmas is a family holiday. By tradition, the elder hosts the family in his house and everyone should be present as a sign of respect. The table should be rich as a symbol of prosperity.
Saint Sarkis, the Holiday of Lovers
St. Sarkis Day, the feast of lovers in Armenian, is celebrated in the first half of February. The patron of all lovers was a commander under the emperor Constantine the Great. A legend is associated with his name. According to legend the commander and his 39 soldiers were celebrating the victory in the royal palace. As soon as forty warriors fell asleep, the king ordered 40 women to kill the soldiers. 39 soldiers were killed, and only one girl refused to kill the commander as soon as she saw his beautiful face. Waking up from a kiss, Sargis saddled his horse and sped away with the girl.
According to the tradition, on the night before the holiday, the young boys and girls eat a very salty “Aghablit” pancake and fall asleep. The one who will give a glass of water in a dream is the future beloved. On this day, a festive liturgy is held at Saint Sarkis Church in Yerevan and the whole city breathes love.
Trndez is a church holiday celebrated on February 13. After the adoption of Christianity Armenians continued celebrating favorite holidays and traditions that were changed into the Christian holidays. One of such rituals is Trndez. The feast in honor of the Presentation of the Lord was originally a pagan holiday Derendez, the holiday of the awakening of nature.
The main participants of the holiday are young boys, girls and newlyweds. The symbol of Trndez is a fire in the yard. Boys and girls hold hands and lead a dance around the fire. After that, couples jump over the fire. According to tradition, the couple who will be able to jump over the fire, will have happiness that year. And the newlyweds who jumped over the fire will have a strong family. In the end, the ashes from the fire are scattered across the field to have a fertile land.
Winter holidays in Georgia
In Georgia every evening can turn into a holiday, if friends and relatives gathered around the table. Well, if it is a holiday, Georgians know exactly how to celebrate it in the best way.
The New Year in Georgia is as bright and memorable as any other traditional holiday. Georgians organize New Year party with all the responsibility. Each family tries to celebrate the New Year in the best way so that the year will be successful for the whole family. The festive table is richly decorated with traditional dishes. The house is decorated with traditional Christmas tree Chichilaki made from hazel twigs. It is kept in the house until January 19, then taken away in the wine cellar until next year.
There is an interesting tradition that on New Year’s Eve Mekvle is the first to enter the house. This is the most successful person who will bring good luck and wealth to the family. On the second day, Georgians celebrate Bedoba or Day of Destiny. This is a family holiday that is celebrated with the whole family.
During the holidays Tbilisi is turned into a city of lights. The streets are lit with festive lights, and there is a festive atmosphere everywhere.
Christmas is the most important church holiday in Georgia celebrated on the night of January 7th. The celebration of Christmas in Georgia is called Alilo (praise of Lord). By tradition, candles are lit by the window on Christmas Eve, as a symbol of the light of Christ.
According to the ancient traditions of Alilo Georgians visit neighbors and friends with congratulations. Neighbors gathered in large groups, went from house to house and sang songs. The hostesses greeted the guests and treated them to sweets.
Today at Christmas in the cities you can see priests and Christians walking about the streets, singing songs and praising the birth of Christ. Participants gather donations, which are later distributed to shelters and orphanages.
In Georgia January 19 is celebrated as the feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist.
Natlisgeba is a family holiday in Georgia. On this day, the godchildren visit the godparents and celebrated the holiday at a festive table.
According to tradition, mass baptisms are held in Tsminda Sameba, Tbilisi, and water blessing is held in all churches. Christians carry holy water, store it during the whole year, and use it to on a special occasions.
Winter holidays in Azerbaijan
The main national and state holidays in Azerbaijan are celebrated in spring and summer. In winter, Azerbaijanis celebrate the main holiday of the year and a couple of state holidays.
On December 31, Azerbaijanis, like the whole world, see off the old year. The holiday has interesting traditions. On this day, all the men in the family gather and pray. The last dinner of the outgoing year is prepared by the eldest of the women in the family. The main festive dish on the New Year’s table is milk pilaf. Not to mention a grand fireworks in the main capital of Baku.
Azerbaijanis celebrate New Year for three days. By the way, these first three days are celebrated by men they host guests, and only then women are allowed to celebrate the New Year.
International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis
On December 31, Azerbaijanis not only see off the old year, but also celebrate Solidarity day of Azerbaijanis. In 1989, the residents of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic opened the Soviet-Iranian border and reunited with their relatives and friends. After this memorable day, in 1991, President Heydar Aliyev declared December 31 International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis.
On this day, the Azerbaijani diaspora gathers together to strengthen the spirit and national values. Azerbaijan also celebrates the holiday.
Azerbaijani Youth Day
Since 1996, February 2 is celebrated as Azerbaijani Youth Day. On this day, the first youth forum headed by President Heydar Aliyev was held. The forum was attended by more than two thousand representatives from all over the country. The forum identified the responsibilities of youth organizations. The responsibilities of the organizations include conducting various events for the development of Azerbaijani youth and solving their problems.
On this day, all young people in the capital celebrate, concerts, all sorts of contests and events are held in the capital.
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