Nowruz in the Republic of Azerbaijan is the most important national celebration. It starts two weeks prior to the beginning of the New Year when house cleaning starts. Homes and public places are cleaned and painted and new flowers are planted in city squares and in private gardens. Sabzeh (green shoots) is grown either at home or bought from flower shops and it is called samani. Chahr Shanbeh Suri is also celebrated; however, the celebrations are on the last four Tuesday nights of the year, instead of only the last Tuesday night as is the tradition in Iran. Each Wednesday is dedicated to one of the four elements, water, wind, soil and fire. The night before the last Wednesday dedicated to fire, is the most elaborate and is celebrated by setting bon fires and jumping over them with music, singing and dancing. A tradition similar to the one celebrated by Iranians exist when after jumping over the fire; young boys carry their hats and go to people’s homes and ask for treats Unwed girls make wishes on this night and stand at street corners and listen to conversation by people passing by. If the conversations are positive they hope that their wishes will come true. People also hang their traditional fur coats outside their homes and expect treats and candies and nuts from their neighbours and relatives.
Just before Nowruz on the last day of the old year many people visit cemeteries and place trays with samanoo and sabzeh on the graves of their deceased close relatives. The last night before Nowruz members of extended families have dinner together and fish is a most at these dinners. They also place a finger ring on the fish head that is taken by the oldest unwed daughter and she will wear the ring and make a wish that she will be married in the coming year.
New clothes are worn and all kinds of sweets are baked for the occasion. Two that are specially baked for Nowruz are shekar booreh and baklava, shekar booreh is similar to Iranian ghotab but is much bigger. Samanoo is also baked and the ones who make it will send some to friends and neighbours. There are plays and performances with games, competitions, horse ridding and wrestling, sword fights and archery. There is a Nowruz spread with symbolic items and going to parks and fields after the occasion is also practiced.