How do you get rid of your sins?
Well, if you were in Azerbaijan last week chances are you tried to get rid of your sins by jumping over a fire. The country is celebrating ‘Norvus’ which is the ancient beginning of a new year. Norvus is celebrated on the day spring begins but is preceded by a number of other events. On the Tuesday before the big event the boys on our street spent the day getting ready for the fire. That night, all over the neighbourhood we could see dozens of small fires. It seemed like everyone was out.
Azerbaijan is known as the ‘land of fire.’ Thousands of years ago natural gas would seep out of the the ground and the place was covered in eternal flames. The ancient people were fire worshippers. Norvus is an ancient holiday that predates any monotheistic faiths. So the belief developed that you would jump over the fire. Once to get rid of the sins of the past year and once to cover the sins you will commit in the coming year.
Today the practice continues and the celebration continues to grow as Azeris feel it adds to their national identity. It was an interesting sight and holds a fascinating history. But what do you do to get rid of your sins?