- The choice of the future bride
- Betrothal small and large
- Pre-wedding chores
- Wedding Gifts & Dowry
- Ceremony «brocade bicini»
- Making bread
- Mahr (ransom)
- Seeing off the bride
- «Shah» the bride
- Azerbaijani dances at weddings
- After Wedding Traditions
- Exit bride
- After wedding visits
- Azerbaijani wedding video
The conclusion of marriage, the creation of a family in all countries since ancient times was considered the most important event in human life, because it marked the transition to a new status and the early birth of offspring. Azerbaijan is not an exception, but the attitude to marriage is serious. Azerbaijani wedding is a huge holiday in scale. Before its beginning, during and after the celebration, many rituals and ceremonies are held, customs are taken into account. A large number of people take part in the process of organizing and conducting the celebration - from close relatives to neighbors.
The choice of the future bride
Since childhood, Azerbaijani girls are taught to be modest, they spend a lot of time with their friends, and avoid male companies. Even now, when young people have become more free to choose a second half, it is mainly a man who does it because not all Azerbaijani brides have close contact with grooms before the wedding. After choosing a girl, the groom asks parents for permission. As a rule, they support their son, but their refusal often becomes the reason for a young man to change his mind.
Then comes the stage of the so-called message. How this happens: first, a man chooses a mediator - a close relative, she is engaged in finding out the girl’s financial situation, the status of her parents in society. She also determines whether the Azerbaijani groom is able to make her a worthy couple, because if he is not wealthy enough to provide for his family, the bride's parents may not agree to marriage even at the stage of small matchmaking. A relative also learns about the girl’s economy, her health, education.
The age of the future Azerbaijani bride is practically irrelevant - according to Muslim traditions, a young girl can be married even at 14-15 years old. After the groom has decided on a suitable bride, his parents send the same intermediary or another person from the next of kin to inform the girl’s father and mother about the intentions of the young groom. If they agree, the date of the upcoming matchmaking is appointed.
In Azerbaijan, matchmaking before the wedding takes place in two stages:
- Small matchmaking.
After receiving an answer, the groom’s father communicates with the family to find out their opinion about the Azerbaijani girl and the upcoming wedding - each word has weight. When the discussions are over, the family of the Azerbaijani groom sends matchmakers to the house of the future wife. As a rule, women of the groom's family — the mother and another close relative (mother’s sister, her eldest daughter) —are the first to go into small courtship. This is due to the belief that only a mother can truly understand a girl’s heart.
When the female heads of families decided to continue the event, the fathers meet. The father of the groom comes along with three more Azerbaijani men - it can be close relatives (brother, father) or respected people of the city or village. He announces his son’s intention to marry the young bride. First, the girl’s father refuses with the words: «I need to know my daughter’s opinion». To questions about the upcoming wedding, the girl is silent, which means her consent.
The matchmakers leave the house, and a final decision awaits them during a large matchmaking.
- Great matchmaking.
When the stage of small Azerbaijani matchmaking is passed, the head of the groom's family invites close relatives to discuss the upcoming event. The female half of the young man’s family goes to the bride to find out her opinion about the future wedding. When the bride's answers are received, the women designate the day of the matchmakers' arrival. Time passes, the date of matchmaking comes, the messengers come, they are put at the head of the table.
Many relatives of the girl are present at the matchmaking, except for the mother - she spends time with her daughter for a walk, so as not to be at home at this time. After discussing extraneous matters - crops, weather, politics, other news - the relatives of the matchmakers ask the main question: «Will you give us a beautiful girl?» If the Azerbaijani family decided not to marry their daughter, they refuse. If the relatives agree, they ask the matchmakers for time to think - this means that they will come a second time.
The Azerbaijani bride's family invites many guests to the second arrival of envoys, sets the table, this time the mother of the bride is present during the matchmaking, but does not say a word. Relatives-matchmakers come again, they are well received, they are sure to treat. Communication takes place on abstract topics. After some time, one of the matchmakers of the groom asks the question: «What do you say this time?» At the second visit, they rarely refuse, therefore, as a rule, the father of the bride says: «Allah bless them!»
Guests are served sweet tea, and the future wife’s sister runs to congratulate the Azerbaijani bride (she is waiting for a decision from her friend) after the marriage. When the stage of the great matchmaking is over, and the guests have gone home, the girl returns home, her closest relatives congratulate her on the imminent wedding - parents, brothers, sisters. On this day, during congratulations to the hero of the occasion, it is customary to cry.
Betrothal small and large
Like matchmaking, the betrothal of young people before their wedding in Azerbaijan takes place in two stages.
- Little betrothal.
This stage of pre-wedding preparation is carried out within a month after the consent of the father and mother of the bride for the wedding. Close relatives of the groom visit the house of the future wife to conduct a small engagement. The girl herself is sitting surrounded by 20-30 people (these are her peers). It is the responsibility of one of the envoys to put the ring on the beauty’s finger, cover her head with a scarf, and then try at least a small piece of some sweetness.
The second half of the Azerbaijani sweetness, from which the envoy bit off part, is attributed to the future spouse. When the groom’s relatives leave, they set the table with sweets constantly appearing during the Azerbaijani wedding - it is considered that they provide future family abundance, fertility. When all the guests, as well as the bridesmaids, ate, the bachelorette party begins.
It is interesting in the old Azerbaijani rite: the bride in turn puts her hand on the heads of unmarried girls, they try on her ring. It was believed that the first, trying on the ring of the future wife, will soon celebrate the wedding herself. After the bachelorette party, girlfriends of the bride girl performed another Azerbaijani rite: they put two identical sweets under their pillows to see their lover in a dream.
- Great betrothal.
A few months after the small engagement, the second stage of the Azerbaijani custom takes place. This is a real holiday for which both sides are seriously preparing. The family of the future wife is preparing a festive table, although often all kinds of products to it (for example, meat, flour, vegetables, sweets, alcohol) sends the groom's family. It is not customary to send only a bow, because it has long been considered a harbinger of bitterness in marriage after marriage.
During the great betrothal, many guests are present - from the closest relatives to neighbors. This is due to the fact that Azerbaijani marriage is based not only on the love of young people, but also on the approval of society. Society became an important witness in preparation for the wedding, it was previously believed that this would make the bonds of marriage even stronger.
The relative of the hero of the future celebration on the day of the engagement was to bring everything necessary for the happy life of the bride - they did not give only shoes, which later, after a certain amount of time, the mother-in-law brought. Large gifts were packed in chests tied with red ribbons, small ones were laid on copper trays, covered with multi-colored bedspreads. Such trays were called honchas and were an indispensable part of the action in ancient times, they are used in our time. Wealthy families often invited musicians to accompany the offering of these gifts.
Examples of gifts brought by an Azerbaijani bridegroom:
- cuts for dresses
- colored scarves
After presenting the gifts, a wedding ring was put on the finger of the future wife. Then both families sat down at the table to discuss the size of the ransom for the bride. An important point in the amount of the ransom was determined by the well-being of the girl, her economic activity, and respect from the community for her family - the wedding expenses were paid for the money received during the ransom, and they also went to purchase a dowry.
Traditionally, in addition to the ransom or instead of it, a wedding agreement was concluded, which guaranteed the bride a monetary reward in case the husband decided to divorce her. After the betrothal and until the wedding, a different amount of time passed - from several months to several years. The girl spent all this time at home, and the groom's family continued to send her gifts - various clothes, items for decorating and facilitating everyday life, fresh fruits, sweets. A live bull served as a gift during the festival of sacrifice.
After the day of engagement ended, the Azerbaijani relative of the hero of the occasion gathered around the bride, looked at gifts, congratulated the girl on the imminent wedding.
Some time after a big engagement, the bride’s family enters the business: sends gifts to her future husband on the same copper trays. The first is for the groom, the second with gifts for men, the third for women, the rest are generously filled with sweets, fruits. This time the table is set on the other side, although a much smaller number of guests are gathering. After a small feast, a relative of the bride tells who the tray is intended for, the mother of the future spouse thanks her, the guests disperse.
Everyone is carefully preparing for the Azerbaijani celebration, because the wedding unites the souls of two lovers. A lot of pre-wedding trouble awaits the family on both sides. Before the event is required «conversation», the date of which is appointed by the head of the groom's family. Two male parties (close relatives of a young man and a girl who are getting married) agree among themselves, choose a wedding day, which according to legend will be the most favorable for creating a family, decide the details of the Azerbaijani celebration - the musical accompaniment of the celebration, the number of guests, the menu.
Mostly the wedding expenses are borne by the relatives of the Azerbaijani groom, however, it often happens that the bride’s family refuses this, laying the whole wedding on herself. After reaching agreement, participants «the conversation» diverge, wishing each other good and happiness.
Wedding Gifts & Dowry
An Azerbaijani bride accepts gifts from a bridegroom throughout the time from matchmaking to the official wedding. She was given shoes, jewelry, clothes from him. On one of the national holidays, the hero of the occasion receives an interesting set of gifts - a beautiful dress, a red scarf, jewelry, and a lamb whose horns are painted with henna is brought on a rope. Traditionally, all kinds of sweets and fruits are brought on trays. The bride herself is also given henna, and girlfriends paint her hands, legs, dye her hair.
Before the solemn day of the Azerbaijani marriage, the bride’s dowry is brought to her husband’s house by her male relatives (brother or uncle) - these are her personal belongings and household items. The future mother-in-law gives the carrier a gift. When he leaves the house, the friends of the Azerbaijani bride come to arrange a dowry, tidy up, restore order, decorate the room. Girls must receive gifts from the hostess at home.
Ceremony «brocade bicini»
«Brocade bicini» from the Azerbaijani language translates as «cutting clothes». This event is also held a few days before the wedding. Women from both sides have a walk with dances, songs. During the ceremony, a bride’s mentor is chosen, who will bring her husband to her husband’s house, decorate her arms and legs with henna drawings, and dress her. As a rule, an Azerbaijani woman, with experience in life, with children and undiluted, with a good public reputation, became a mentor.
Many Azerbaijani traditions are closely related to bread, because it is a symbol of abundance, wealth and fertility. For example, before leaving the father’s house, an Azerbaijani bride had to walk around the baked bread three times so that this family would be safe without it. Also, in order to protect her future kin from evil spirits, to provide abundance, the girl took a piece of bread from her parent's nest to her future home.
Making bread for the upcoming wedding is a traditional custom of Azerbaijani families, held 2-3 days before the event.
- First, choose a house where bread will be baked - from the bride or groom.
- Then they try to make a good dough, roll it, bake pita bread.
- When the treat is baked, women thank the hostess of the house for the space provided, wish wealth and always hot bread on the table.
Mahr is a certain amount of money or material inheritance that will be given to an Azerbaijani wife if the spouse decides to divorce her or in case of his death. They agree on mahr before the wedding; all this is documented in the marriage contract. If a woman decides to leave her husband’s house, she will not receive a ransom and will not be able to pick up gifts, as well as jointly acquired property with her Azerbaijani husband.
Seeing off the bride
Seeing off the Azerbaijani bride is an ancient tradition of the wedding. Seeing off is full of beautiful symbolism. First, people from the groom come to pick up the Azerbaijani bride, they dance, sing. The bride is waiting in the wings behind a closed door, the key for which guests will receive after delivery of the gift. After the gift, the parents bless the Azerbaijani girl, bandage her waist with a red ribbon, throw a veil over her head and take him out into the yard - there a big fire is kindled.
- The Azerbaijani bride is three times circled around the fire - this promises light and warmth for the future home.
- A stone is thrown after her so that the walls of this house are strong.
- Then they pour a few drops of water under the feet so that the girl does not feel sad and does not grieve.
- A plate is laid on the threshold of the new house, which the Azerbaijani bride must break with her foot.
- In the arms of the girl they give a little boy so that the male child becomes her firstborn.
- Then, in front of the eyes of the Azerbaijani bride, a ram is killed, and the forehead and dress are smeared with blood - this will help the wife come to an agreement with her new relatives and quickly become a real part of the family.
- The mother-in-law strokes the daughter-in-law's hair so that mutual respect always reigns between them.
- After the girl’s head sprinkled with sweets and rice - for plenty.
- Then the bride is taken to a prepared room, decorated with various decorations, where she accepts the wishes of happiness, health, and the soon birth of offspring.
As a rule, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, neighbors of the heroes of the occasion blocked the road in every possible way to the husband’s house, the Azerbaijani guests carrying the bride, asking for a small ransom for the pass - sweets or money.
«Shah» the bride
Shah is a wooden wedding decoration that combines several elements: a mirror, candles, fabrics, as well as sweets, fruits. For the Azerbaijani bride, he is prepared by the best friend-needlewoman. In the house of a friend decorating the shah, a walk is held - young people come there, eat, drink, celebrate. In the evening, an Azerbaijani bridegroom arrives with friends, takes the shah, and after that they bring him in the house of a bridegroom, shooting with rifles, singing songs.
Azerbaijani dances at weddings
As a rule, during the Azerbaijani marriage, national music is played by traditional instruments, therefore, those present mainly dance Azerbaijani dances known from childhood. The wedding itself almost half consists of a music and dance program - singing and fiery dances, all this continues until the early hours of the morning. Watch the video where beautiful, energetic and funny Azerbaijani dances were perfectly performed during the wedding:
After Wedding Traditions
Many Azerbaijani customs also pass after the wedding day. Right after the wedding night, relatives from both sides come to look at the sheet proving the innocence of the Azerbaijani girl. When purity leaves no doubt, everyone is going to have breakfast - the owners of the house serve pilaf. Also, after the wedding, for three days the mother of the Azerbaijani bride brought different dishes to provide food for the newlyweds.
After the bride and groom gets into the new house, she should not see her father-in-law for two weeks after the wedding. When the required amount of time has passed, the mother-in-law sets up a gala table, setting it with national dishes, sweets, and the spouse's father calls the girl, gives her a present - since then she has been officially adopted by the Azerbaijani family.
After wedding visits
When the wedding has passed, a mandatory sequence of visits is carried out:
- Visit to the daughter. A few months after the event, the spouse's mother, together with the family, warns her daughter's new family about the arrival. Guests arrive, a table is set, after a visit, they give gifts to Azerbaijani newlyweds.
- First visit to parents. Only after the expiration of a period of forty days after the wedding, the spouse is allowed to visit the parental home with her husband and other new relatives. A large Azerbaijani feast is held there, after which the girl stays at home for several days. Then her husband picks her up - from now on she can visit relatives when she wants.
- Visits to relatives. Close relatives from the side of the newly-minted Azerbaijani husband and wife invite the young to visit to dine with them, find out the news, give some gifts.
Azerbaijani wedding video
Azerbaijani wedding is a beautiful large-scale event. It is full of various rites, traditions, customs, therefore it causes a keen interest and leaves an indelible impression on everyone who has witnessed such a triumph. This will help festive photos that revive the memories of a great day.