Azerbaijan International

Winter 2004 (12.4)
Page 13

Holiday Calendar - 2005

Jan 1 New Year's Day

Boys from the Dance School






Jan 20 Day of Martyrs (1)
Jan 21 Gurban Bayrami (2)
Feb 26 Khojali Massacre (3)
Mar 8 International Women's Day
Mar 20-21 Novruz Bayrami
May 9 Victory Day (4)
May 28 Republic Day (5)
Jun 15 National Salvation Day (6)
Jun 26 Army Day (7)
Sept 18 Music Day (8)
Oct 18 National Independence Day (9)
Nov 4 Ramazan bayrami (10)
Nov 12 Constitution Day (11)
Nov 17 Day of National Revival (12)
Dec 31 Azerbaijan Solidarity Day (13)

1 Commemorates the victims of the tragic events of Black January (1990) when Soviet troops attacked Azerbaijani civilians in Baku. Officially 132 people died (January 20 - 21), but Azerbaijanis suspect that the number is drastically under-reported by the hundreds. See "Black January: Behind the Scenes - A Photojournalist's Perspective" by Reza with Betty Blair. Search at

2 Religious holiday commemorating Abraham's sacrifice of his son, Ismayil. Moveable date, based on the lunar calendar.

3 In 1992 the night when Armenian troops attacked the town of Khojali (population about 8,000) and killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The remaining townspeople tried to flee; some succeeded, some didn't. This brutal onslaught marked the beginning of the Armenian military occupation of the entire region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions - more than 15 percent of Azerbaijan's territory. A final peaceful resolution has yet to be achieved between Azerbaijan and Armenia - nearly 13 years later. See "Khojali - Eyewitness Account From the Following Day" by Thomas Goltz. Search at

4 Holiday from the Soviet period celebrating victory over Germans in World War II, which they refer to as "The Great Patriotic War".

5 Founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (ADR), the nation's first independent government (1918 - 1920). Considered the most important national holiday.

6 When Parliament invited Heydar Aliyev (May 10, 1923 - December 12, 2003) to come to Baku to lead the country (1993). He then was elected President (October) and served two terms (1993 - 2003).

7 Commemorates the establishment of Azerbaijan's first army under the independent government of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918).

8 Birthday of Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885 - 1948), composer and founder of "composed music" in Azerbaijan. Not an official holiday, but this date annually marks the opening of the Theater Season. This year marks the composer's 120th Jubilee. See for Music Samples and oral histories and tributes.

9 When Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union (1991). The USSR officially collapsed on December 8, 1991.

10 Marks the end of the traditional Muslim month of fasting, known as Ramadan in English. Moveable date, based on the lunar calendar.

11 When the new Constitution, Azerbaijan's fourth, was ratified under President Heydar Aliyev (1995).

12 When the first demonstrations broke out in Azerbaijan against Moscow's policies as they related to Nagorno-Karabakh (1988).

13 When Azerbaijanis broke down the barriers (during the Soviet period in 1989) along the border that separates them (North Azerbaijan) from (South Azerbaijan) Iran. An estimated 25 - 30 million Azerbaijanis live in Iran today. This holiday is intended to foster friendship and solidarity among the Azerbaijani Diaspora throughout the world.

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