Public holidays and memorable dates of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Holidays of the Republic of Azerbaijan are highlighted with red
color, memorable days - with green

1-2 january


The New Year

January is named after Janus (Januarius in Latin), the Roman God. It is the first month the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was applied in 1582. In Russia, the Julian calendar has been enabled by the Order of Peter the Great. In accordance with the said Order, the day of the 1st of January - Birth of Jesus - became the beginning of the year and XVIII century began from the 1st of January, 1701.

In 1918, the Gregorian calendar gained force by Decree of V.I.Lenin, head of government of the Soviet Russia. In this way, the difference between the Gregorian and the Julian calendars, which was 13 days in XX century, was abolished. Thus, the day after January 31, 1918 came as the 13th of February of the same year. As it was in the past, the Gregorian calendar is used in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Accordingly, the 1st of January is celebrated as the day-off.

Since 2006, January 1 and 2 as holidays are celebrated as days-off, e.g. non-working days.

Note: A new rule was enacted since 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday is coincides with a day-off, the next following day is deemed as a day-off. 

20 january


Day of National Mourning

The 20th of January is one the bloodiest tragedies in the history of Azerbaijan. This action of terrorism committed against the people of Azerbaijan will remain as a dark spot in the history of the world and be considered the heaviest crime committed against the humanity. The massacre of civilians struggling for their national liberation and territorial integrity, killing and wounding of hundreds of innocent people as a result of mass terror once again displayed the criminal nature of the totalitarian Soviet regime before its collapse.

The large contingent of the troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union trained for special assignment committed extreme cruelty and unprecedented atrocities. Then, Azerbaijan was subjected to the aggression of the neighboring Armenia as well. In these conditions, the Soviet administration not only tried to prevent the conflict, but mobilized the Armenian soldiers who served in Stavropol, Krasnodar and Rostov, and in other regions, even the Armenian cadets were sent to Azerbaijan.

The military contingent sent to Baku - according to some information, was up to 60 000 in number, they were psychologically trained (as reported by the organization of independent military experts “Shield”.): you are sent to Baku in order to protect the Russians, who are being brutally tortured by the local population; the extremists placed the snipers on the roofs of the buildings around the Salyan barrack (the territory of the main military garrison of Baku),there are 110 bunkers there; buildings and flats are full of the militants of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan; you will be machine-gunned by them.

Leaders of the Soviet empire, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev in Baku skillfully used “the Russian and Armenian card”. Supposedly, the troops were conducted to Baku in order to protect them, the families of the military, to prevent the seizure of government by the “nationalists extremists”. In fact, it was an obvious hypocrisy and blatant lie. Even if the “arguments” of the Soviet administration were true there was no need to send to Baku from armed troops. Because at that time, there were 11.5 thousand of soldiers of internal forces, many military units of Baku garrison under the Ministry of Defense and defense forces. Head quarters of the 4th army also located in Baku.

Despite all this, on January 19, 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev, roughly violating Article 119 of the USSR Constitution and Article 71 of the Constitution of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan, signed a decree on the application of the state of emergency in Baku. On January 19, at 19.27 the "Alpha” group, unit of the KGB blew the Azerbaijani television, and stopped the broadcasting in the country. At night, the army entered the city, which was not informed about the state of emergency, and massacred the population. Until the entry into force of the Decree of Gorbachev, that is up to 00 hours of 20th January already nine people were killed. Public was informed about the application of the state of emergency in Baku only on January 20, at 7 am. By that time, the death toll reached up to 100 people. While high-level emissaries of Gorbachev sent to Azerbaijan, it was brazenly declared that a state of emergency in Baku will not be applied. This is the pathetic image of the administration of the Soviet empire, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, whose hands were stained with blood of hundreds of people, and he was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (?) ...

Tanks and armored personnel ruined everything all on their road, the soldiers ruthlessly fired all around. Bullets reached the people not only in streets, but also in buses, sitting in their apartments. The ambulances and medical personnel who came for the wounded were also fired. For several days, 137 people were killed, about 700 were wounded and more than 800 people were illegally arrested.

 26 february


Khojaly genocide and national mourning day

At the night from February 25 to 26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces captured Khojaly with the support of the personnel of the motor-infantry regiment #366 of the former Soviet Union.

Mass fire by using artillery and other military equipment, began the assault on the town in the evening of February 25.

As a result of this by five o'clock in the morning the whole town was in fire. The population (about 2500 people) remained in the town were forced to leave their houses in the hope to find the way to Aghdam - the district center and the nearest place mainly populated by the Azerbaijanis.

But these plans have failed. The Armenian armed forces with the military support of the infantry destroyed Khojaly and with particular brutality slaughtered the peaceful population. As a result:

613 people were killed, including;
63 children,
106 women,
70 elderly.
8 families were killed completely.
25 children lost both parents.
130 children lost one of the parents.
487 people were wounded, including;
76 children
1275 people were taken hostages
150 people were missing 

The damage done to state and private property estimated 5 billion rubles (according to the prices at 01.04.92)

These figures show the result of the most bloody tragedy in the Mountainous Garabagh conflict, which began on February, 1988, with illegal claims of the ethnic Armenians of the Mountainous Garabagh Autonomous Province of Azerbaijan to join it to Armenia which was provoked with direct support of the ruling circles of Armenia with the consent and inactivity of central authorities of the Soviet Union. 




International Women’s Day

8 March - the International Day of Solidarity of Women in the struggle to achieve economic, political and social equality. The decision to celebrate the International Women’s Day proposed by Clara Zetkin in the second International Conference of the Women Socialists held in 1910 in Copenhagen. For the first time, this Day was celebrated in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark. It was celebrated in Russia in 1913, in Azerbaijan - in 1917. Till 1914, this holiday was marked in various days. The tradition to celebrate the International Women’s Day became traditional as a result of the women of Austria, Hungary, Russia, US and other countries to deem it as a holiday.

Since every country in the world is celebrating the 8th of March as the Day of Solidarity and Struggle for Peace. March 8 was announced as non-working holiday in 1965 in the Soviet Azerbaijan. When Azerbaijan gained its independence, the 8th of March retained its status of the holiday.

Note: A new rule was en enacted since 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday is coinciding with a day-off, the next day is deemed as a day-off.

21 march 


Novruz Holiday

Novruz marks the arrival of Spring and means the beginning of the New Year in the Muslim countries. The first day of Spring signifies the equinox.

The historical roots of Novruz as a holiday go back to the very ancient times of Prophet Zoroaster, its age is within 3700 - 5000 years.

This holiday was celebrated in the ancient Babylon on the 21st of March and April and lasted 12 days. Every of these 12 days had its own rites and entertaining events. The first tangible heritage monument says that Novruz appeared in 505 BC.

Islam added religious tints to Novruz. But such great thinkers like Ferdowsi, Rudaki, Ibn Sina, Nizami, Saadi, Hafizi openly stated that Novruz emerged far before the Islam. Writings dedicated to Novruz are the following: “Siyaset-name” (Book on Policy) of Nizami and “Novruz-name” (Book on Novruz) of Omar Khayyam.

Azerbaijan - the Land of Fires - has rich traditions connected with the Fire Worshipping. Novruz is the symbol of Redemption. “The Last Tuesday before the arrival of Novruz, is celebrated by making a bonfire and everyone regardless of the age and sex should jump over the blessed fire at least seven times. People jump even times over the same bonfire or once over seven bonfires. As this rite is being honored, one should said: “My yellowness is for you, your redness is for me”. The fire is never extinguished by water. It dies out by itself and then, boys and girls collect its ashes and throw it far away from their houses. All this procedure means that the Redemption is done with ashes thrown away.

The Redemption by using water is linked to the belief which is also a kind of purification. During Novruz, if you jump over the brook, it means that you have got the Redemption from all your past sins. There is also another rite: to throw water to each other in the last night of the outgoing year. There is a saying that the night next to Tuesday before Novruz water stops to run in brooks and rivers. Everything tends to worship water and even trees are bending downwards. If anyone will drink such water in New Year evening, he will preserve himself from illness.

The culmination of Novruz is when the old year gives its place to the New Year. In accordance with ancient traditions, people used cannons and guns to shoot in honor of Novruz. In XIX century, N.Dubrovin wrote about this ceremony: “Cannon shots in cities and villages announced the arrival of spring in Azerbaijan”. Adam Oleariy participated in festivities organized in Azerbaijan on the occasion of Novruz wrote: Determining the height of the Sun by astronomic devices and Sun-dial, the astrologer announced the following during the equinox: “The New Year has come”. This announcement was immediately accompanied by cannon shots. Music started to play from city towers and ramparts. Spring began this way” (1637).

During Novruz, there should be on the table seven dishes starting by the letter “S”. It should also reflect sumakh (dried barberry), vinegar, milk, semeni (sweet soup made from wheat malt with flour), sebzi (greens) etc. Mirror and candles are also put on the table. Painted eggs are placed in front of the mirror. All this is full of symbols: the candle symbolizes fire and light which protects people from the evil eye. Mirror symbolizes redemption.

Traditions say that every member of the family should be at home on the first day of the holiday. People believe: “If you will not be at home on the first day of Novruz, you will miss it seven years”. In the ancient times, the main door was never closed. Light is always switched on during the first day of Novruz because the extinguished fire predicts misfortune.

Celebrating Novruz, villagers define how useful will be the new year. Will the new year dry or rainy? What will be the crop? In accordance with traditions, the first day of Novruz is deemed as Spring, the second is Summer, the third is Autumn and the fourth is Winter. If the first day will appear calm and clear, it means the year will yield good crop.

Novruz is the favorable holiday of the Azerbaijanis. Novruz is the holiday which reflects the traditional values of the Azerbaijani people.

Note: A new rule has been enacted from 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday coincides with a day-off, the next day is deemed as a day-off.

31 march


Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis

The Day of Genocide of the Azerbaijanis is commemorated annually on 31 March. In March-April of 1918, the Armenians living in Baku, Shamakhi, Guba, Mugan and Lenkoran murdered over 30 thousand Azerbaijanis, and thousands of people were driven out from their lands. Only in Baku about 10,000 Azerbaijanis were killed with cruelty, 58 villages were destroyed in Shamakhi and 7000 people were killed (1653 of them were women and 965 - children). On the territory of Quba 122 villages, in the mountainous part of Garabagh - 150, in Zangezur - 115, in Yerevan province - 211, in Kars - 92 villages were destroyed, the population, regardless of age and sex, was subjected to genocide. In one of numerous appeals of the Azerbaijanis of Yerevan (newspaper "Ashkhadavor" ("Worker"), Nov. 2, 1919) indicated that in this historic city of the Azerbaijani people for a short time 88 villages were destroyed, 1920 houses were burnt, 131,970 people were killed. On March 26, 1998, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev issued a special decree and announced the 31st of March the Day of Genocide of the Azerbaijanis.

9 may


Day of Victory Over Fascism

The World War Second (1939 - 1945) remained in history as the period of terrible and tragic events for all the mankind.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941 - 1945), the Azerbaijani people demonstrated examples of heroism and bravery in the frontline and in the year. In a very short period of time, 87 fighting battalions, 1124 self-defense detachments were formed in the Republic. In 1941 - 1945, more than 600 thousands brave sons and girls from Azerbaijan left Azerbaijan to fight the enemy. The Azerbaijani divisions made glorious frontline records from the Caucasus to far Berlin. Almost 130 of our compatriots were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, 30 were given the Order “the Glory”. 170 thousand soldiers and officers from Azerbaijan were awarded various orders and medals of USSR. Hazi Aslanov, two times Hero of the Soviet Union, Israfil Mammadov, Ruslan Vezirov, Adil Guliyev, Ziya Buniyatov, Gheray Asadov, Melik Maharramov, Mehdi Huseyn-zade, heroes of the Soviet Union, generals like Mahmud Abilov, Akim Abbasov, Tarlan Aliyarbekov, Hajibala Zeynalov and many others wrote new pages in the history of our people with their bravery.

Large scale works were fulfilled in the Republic to change the rails of national economy for serving the front. Within a short period of time, Baku became a vast munitions warehouse for the fighting army. In spite of unprecedented difficulties, our oil workers have sought to ensure fuel supplies to the frontline and the industries by demonstrating their resolve and heroic actions.

Under the leadership of Academician Yusif Mamedaliyev, the new technology was invented to produce the aircraft motor gasoline. In oil history of Azerbaijan, a record indicator of oil production was attained thanks to the hard work of our oil specialists. It was equal to 23,5 million tones of black gold which made 71.4 % of all oil extracted in the USSR. In general, during the wartime, oil workers of Azerbaijan supplied 75 million tons of oil, 22 million tons of petrol and other oil products to the whole country. We can surely say that the Baku oil was one of main factors of the victory over the fascism. Suffice it to say that every fourth out of five aircrafts, five tanks, five automobiles ran by the Baku petrol. The Great Patriotic War demonstrated the mass heroism and bravery of the Azerbaijani people.

Note: A new rule has been enacted since 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday is coinciding with a day-off, the next day is deemed as a day-off.

28 may


Day of Republic

XX Century entered the history not only as the century of science and technology, but also as the epoch of the national revival, collapse of the colonial empires and formation of the national states.

The Tsar was overthrown in Russia as a result of the February Popular Revolution of 1917. The national movement of peoples subjected to the oppression of the Tsarist power got a steep development in the country. The Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (1918 -1920) was established on May 28, 1918. It became the first secular, democratic state in the Islamic Orient and remained in the historical memory of the nation as the first experience of statehood in Azerbaijan.

Starting from 1990, the Day of Republic, the day of restoration of the independence, is celebrated as a national holiday.

Note: A new rule was enacted from 2006 which stipulated that if the holiday coincided with a day-off, the next following day was deemed as a day-off.

15 june


Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan gained its independence in October 1991. But the first years of independence were marked by the vacuum in the political power and total crisis in the state and all its institutions, including army and national security bodies. The situation was further exacerbated by irredentist aggression of Armenia. Real menace of the civil war became apparent in Azerbaijan in the summer of 1993. During such vitally important times for the motherland, Heydar Aliyev came back to power. He was elected as chairman of the parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan on June 15, 1993. Since the 15th of June became the Day of the National Salvation. In June 1997, the parliament announced this day a holiday in accordance with the public opinion.

Note: A new rule was enacted since 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday coincided with a day-off, the next following day was deemed as a day-off.

26 june


Day of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan

The Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted the Law on the Creation of the National Army on October 9, 1991.

The 26th of June was announced as the Day of the Armed Forces in accordance with the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated May 22, 1998.

Note: A new rule was enacted from 2006 which stipulated that if the holiday coincided with a day-off, the next following day was deemed as a day-off.

18 october


Day of National Independence

Declaration on the Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted in the extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan on August 30, 1991.

The historic session of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan held on October 18, 1991 was known by the unanimous adoption of the Constitutional Act “On the Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

The general voting took place in the Republic of Azerbaijan on December 29, 1991. The ballots of this referendum reflected the only question: “Are you for the Constitutional Act “On the Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan”?

The people of Azerbaijan voted for the independence.

In May 1992, the Parliament adopted the National Anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan (music by Uzeir Hajibeyov, words by Ahmed Javad) and later on, the State flag, the national emblem (eight points star with flames).



Day of National Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan

National flag of Azerbaijan was adopted as a national flag for the first time by the decision of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic dated 9 November 1918, and was used as a symbol until April of 1920. During the Soviet period of our history, it was replaced with the flag of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan.

During the social-political processes ongoing around the Mountainous Garabagh, the flag of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic was raised unofficially in the Azadlyg Square of Baku on 17 November 1988 on the initiative of the intelligentsia. 

This flag was hoisted officially in the territory of Azerbaijan on the building of the Supreme Soviet of Nakhchivan, according to the decision adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic dated 19 January 1990. Despite the revocation of this decision by the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan 8 days later, during the session of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic on 17 November 1990, chaired by national leader Heydar Aliyev, the flag of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted as the national flag of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. On 5 February 1991, due to demands of the Azerbaijani public, the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan adopted a decree on the national flag, granting the tricolor the status of national flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

On 18 October 1991, Azerbaijan, having restored its independence by a relevant Constitutional Act, announced itself the heir of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan and adopted the latter’s state symbols, including the National Flag. 

Note: A new rule was enacted in 2006 which stipulated that was the holiday is coincided with a day-off, the next following day was deemed as a day-off.

12 november


Day of Constitution

The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted in 1995 became its fourth Constitution reflecting its new historical modification. The history of the constitutional formation of the Republic of Azerbaijan mainly relies upon the period when Azerbaijan was a part of the USSR.

The new edition of the first Constitution of Azerbaijan was adopted on May 19, 1921 in the First Azerbaijani Congress of the Soviets. The new edition of the of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which was in line with the relevant Constitution of USSR of 1924, adopted on March 14, 1925 in IV Azerbaijani Congress of the Soviets. The new Constitution of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic enacted on April 21, 1978 reflected the realities of a new historical stage in the history of the country. As the independence was gained, it became necessary to draft a new Constitution. For this reason, a special commission established under the guide of President Heydar Aliyev. The Constitution was adopted in the referendum held on November 12, 1995.

The Constitution of 1995 aid the foundations of the state building in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The text of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of 5 sections, 12 chapters and 158 Articles.

The 12th of November is celebrated in the country as the Day of Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

17 november


Day of National Revival

The first days of 1988 were marked by an open aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Abusing the indifference of the Soviet Union’s government, the Armenian authorities in fact, sanctioned the expel of over 200 thousand Azerbaijanis from their permanent residences.

On November 17, 1988, an uninterrupted public rally organized by the Azerbaijani public started in the main square of Baku - Azadlyg Square. People were protesting against the actions of the Armenian authorities and the Kremlin.

Since 1992, the 17th of November is celebrated as the Day of National Revival.

31 december


Day of Solidarity of the Azerbaijanis Living All Over the World 

The 31st of December is celebrated annually as the Day of Solidarity World Azerbaijanis living all over the world. Ten millions of Azerbaijanis live today in the world: Iran (the Southern Azerbaijan), Turkey, Germany, France, Great-Britain, USA and in the countries of the Middle East. The biggest Azerbaijani Diaspora is in Russia which numbers 1.5 - 2 millions.

With the establishment of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the public state of the Diaspora has also changed and it has initiated the multifaceted activities for the prosperity of the Azerbaijani people. In 1993, the 31st of December has been announced as the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day in accordance with the Presidential Decree.

Note: A new rule has been enacted from 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday is coinciding with a day-off, the next following day is deemed as a day-off.


Holiday of Sacrifice (Gurban)

The religious holiday is celebrated every year by all the Muslim world. The religious rites of slaughtering animals as a sacrifice existed long before Islam.

After the second year of Hijra when Prophet Mohammed moved from Medina to Mecca, new patterns of making sacrifices in Islamic world emerged and formed as extending assistance to the poor and orphans, making good deeds, to make desires come true. The religious ceremony of making sacrifice takes its roots from the event which happened to Prophet Ibrahim. God orders him to sacrifice his son Ismail to test his belief in him. As a true follower, Ibrahim was ready to fulfill the Divine order as well as Ismail stood ready to be sacrificed. In this holiday, every rich Moslem had to sacrifice an animal, share and distribute its meat to the poor and the orphans. The act of making sacrifice had to elevate anyone spiritually till the highest level of faith. The Koran says: “Allah needs neither flesh, nor animal’s blood, but only your faith”.

The holiday of Sacrifice is celebrated 2 days.

Note: A new rule was enacted from 2006 which stipulates that if the holiday coincides with a day-off, the next day is deemed as a day-off.


Ramadan Holiday

The holy month of Ramadan is an important month for the Moslems. Ramadan teaches everyone to love cordially the deeds of Allah passing through testing the body and strengthening the moral spirit. Moslems are fasting during that month.

The history of Ramadan dates back to the second year of Hijra when Prophet Mohammed determined the month of Ramadan for Moslems in the city of Medina. It is exactly during the last 10 nights of Ramadan Allah sent the Koran to Moslems. There is a saying that it happened in the night from the 23rd to the 24th or in the night from the 26th to the 27th. This night is called Night of Power and Might which is described in the Koran as follows: “We have indeed revealed strength, might in the Night of Power; The Night of Power is stronger than thousand months; The angels descended down on the Earth and are waiting for Allah's order; Peace in this Night until the dawn” (97:1 - 5).

In Ramadan it is not allowed to eat in daytime, smoke and fulfill marital obligations etc. Only children, pregnant women, anyone who is seriously ill, warriors and travelers are free from fasting. Ramadan comes with the rise of the new moon and lasts 29 - 30 days. The Koran says: “Eat and drink till you can make a difference between dark and white threads, and then respect your fasting till dusk” (2:187).

Fasting existed even before Islam. The Koran says the following about it: “As you are instructed to respect your fasting, the same instruction was also given to your predecessors.”

Fasting finishes with the holiday called Eid ul-Fitr. During this day, all rich and known Moslems must help the poor. Starting from 1993, Ramadan is celebrated as a holiday at the national level.

Note: A new rule was enacted in 2006 which stipulated that if the holiday coincides with a day-off, the next day is deemed as a day-off.