Saturday, 24 November 2007

MY SISTER’S WEDDING: Wonders of Azerbaijani National Weddings (Part I)

Family is the first and crucial column of the society. In different countries, families are formulated for the same purposes but in different ways. How is it created in Azerbaijan? How Azeri people formulate their families? And the main question, how Azeri people “get married”?

Well, it is rather a long, complicated, multi-leveled, but very enjoyable process. Azerbaijan National Wedding is not just a celebration, it is a ritual performance. Tying the family knot in our country is a matter of huge importance or even the cause of life. A traditional wedding with its inalienable attributes is some kind of a symbol for an Azerbaijan, because it turns an unexplored but the most important page in the book of life and branded in memory as the most unforgettable event. I am going to speak about the wedding traditions of Azerbaijan which recently I have closely witnessed. The thing is that a week ago my sister got married and I will try to elucidate every stage of this marriage which is the wedding reality of today.

Stage of Acquaintance and Preliminary Preparation

In one of sunny days, my sister came home and told us, my Mom and me, that there was somebody in her life who had serious intentions towards her and his family would like to come and know our family. We were happy because she was the first girl among our close relatives who was going to marry and everybody around us constantly was asking when the expected wedding would be. So my mother had a private conversation with my father and our parents agreed to their visit. So, the first stage, getting to know each other, started. In this part, only female relatives come to the bride’s house and get official consent to send their leaders that is men of the family for official agreement. After it, the “agsaggals” that is the oldest relatives from guy’s family visits the house of the girl candidate. This visit is called in Azerbaijan as “elchilik” that is wooing when groom side explains its intentions and asks the parents of the girl whether they are agree to give their daughter to marry. If girl’s family do not agree to this, or need more time to know the guy’s family, they serve tea without sugar which will mean “no”. If they are agree, they ask to bring cups of tea mixed with sugar. As my sister told us that he was the exact person she was looking for, my family did not resist to her decision and we naturally served a tea with sugar. Traditionally dinner is served by the sister or other close relatives of the bride and accordingly I played an important role in this ceremony.

After such successful visit to the bride’s house, the engagement process is arranged. During the engagement ceremony, groom’s family brings a wedding ring and wears it to the finger of the bride. It symbolizes that this girl already belongs to that person. The period of engagement can vary in different regions of Azerbaijan and it mainly depends on the financial conditions of both sides. If they have such opportunity, they try to make the period of engagement as short as possible and even skip it sometimes, passing to the wedding directly. So, both of our families agreed to organize the wedding after three months. Thus, most difficult stage started…

Aynura Alakbarova,
Master student of Azerbaijan University of Languages


Lisa said...


I read your story of your sister's wedding and it seemed magical. I would like to talk to you about my family. I am married to an Azeri in the states but we have to have a wedding there in about a year so I was wondering if you can advise me since you are an Azeri woman about traditions and culture?

Cok Sago...

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,
I could only see you comment only now:)so did marry in baku?

reza said...

I loved your story since my dad is from the other side of the Aras River. The part that you folks brag about of being part of the Europe bothers me somehow. You are Iranian no matter where or what side of the river you are. Let's not forget that. We are all bunch oh Kupak Oghlies.
Long live Azarabadegan

Anonymous said...

Azeris are Turks, nothin and nobody can change that...
Aynura said...

Salam Aynura,

well, i loved to read your first part n would like to read all and also ask you many questions. I am a dutch man n i v met an azeri woman n we want to marry, Inshallah. It s not goin to be easy, so i hope you can give me -or better us- advise. We v compared ourselves sometimes to Leyli n Mecnun:) Of coz the main problem is that i am non-azeri n that my "quaynata" has to be convinced of my good intentions to his daughter and his family. we v decided already tat i m goin to be a muslim, so tat s not a matter of discussion. I m asking you for al details of the rich and complicated rules n traditions about the way to "toy". Of coz i want to impress my "Leyli" with my new knowledge:) I hope you have time n are willing to help me.

Çox sağ olun!


Lisa said...

Hi Aynura,

My wedding in Baku will take place in November 2009. I will be in Baku for one week before the wedding. I am very nervous. Anything you can help me with would be great. I so much wish to learn the language and enrich myself with the culture.

Cok Sagol,


M.I. said...

I really like this story.Ir fully shows our cusdtoms, and the most important is that there is a lot SPECIFIC details.And it makes your writing more interestnig to read.

Anonymous said...

i have a freind from azer.
i just wanted to know whether your marriage is like christian or muslims!and i wanted to know wether azeri people drink alcohol!