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Getting married ceremony structure

A formal wedding procedure, beginning with acceptance of consent of the bride’s parents (“soz kesdi”) continues after an independent decision about the marriage was made.

Presentation of a marriageable girl (Qiz gorme )

Such traditions as “qiz gorme” (presentation of a marriageable girl) and “qiz beyenme” (approval of the choice) are the first conditions of the wedding. Participants of a given level of the wedding are women, as usual. Nearest relatives of the groom, who are gathered together to marry him, begin gathering information about the bride, her parents, and the family where she lives.


After all, when the groom’s choice is approved, the day of sending matchmakers to the bride’s house is fixed.

More respected, elder relatives of the groom take part in the “main” matchmaking ceremony and being refused is considered a sensible blow to the prestige of these people. Generally, for acceptance of a preliminary consent, some elder relatives of the groom or his elder sister are sent to the bride’s house. Earlier, the tradition needed a repeated “refusal” because of the different reasons, but later this moment was considerably simplified. It is considered that the fact that the choice of a future companion of life should be equal in rights and private choice of youngsters played the main role in this decision.

In fixing the day of matchmaking everybody tries to choose the successful day, that is one of those in which all dreams come true. According to an ancient belief, evil spirits bordered the matchmakers’ way on the way to the bride’s house, attempted to restrict the commitment of a good act and wanted that the sent matchmakers to get a refusal and to return back without anything. In connection to this belief people attached a pin to doors and walls of the house, which they approach. Evil spirits, frightening from the pin made of iron, had not enough courage to leave the home and adjoin the matchmakers going to the bride’s house.

Matchmaking is an indispensable tradition also in such case when the couple agrees for it.

Payment of bashlig

In Azerbaijan was spread a tradition of payment of “bashlig” for the bride by the groom’s side to her parents, more accurately, to father or another person who marries her off. Payment for bashlig was paid with cash, things or cattle before the wedding. But this tradition was spread not in all parts of Azerbaijan. According to the Soviet law, charging bashlig was restricted.


Matchmaking followed engagement tradition. After the parents (first of all father) decide to marry their daughter off, the groom entertains tea and sweeties to his new relatives in the bride’s house.

A period after engagement and before wedding – is the main period in the life of a young couple. Earlier the period of this stage was very significant, sometimes reaching several years. It is assumed that it was related to difficulties of material welfare – necessities of preparing for the future wedding ceremonies. Later this period was significantly shortened.


Religious registration of the marriage (“kebin kesmek”) is held before the several days to the wedding with participation of witnesses, from the both sides. A guaranteed sum (“mehr”), as the guarantee in favour of the bride in case of divorce or death of husband was written to the marriage contract (“kebin kagizi”) which is carefully kept by a married women in past.


In a few days before the wedding is held a ceremony of decorating the house (“ev bezemek”) which is concluded with that in that very day the bride’s dowry ("jehiz") is brought to the groom’s house. The main aim of this tradition is provision of a young couple with all necessities in the beginning of their joint life. That is why the dowry includes furniture, dishes and articles of domestic utility.

A “girl’s wedding” (“paltar kesdi” ceremony) and so called “boy’s wedding” are especially distinguished. The national music sounds in the wedding.

A ceremony of “henna smearing” is held in the evening of the first day of the wedding at the bride’s house. Nearest female friends and relatives of the girl are invited to this ceremony. A group of young boys and girls with musicians come from the groom’s house. The nearest relatives of the groom smear henna to the bride’s fingers and give gifts. The bride’s family gives a formal dinner party to participants of the ceremony. The “henna smearing” is called differently in different districts of Azerbaijan: inn Shaki – “the bride’s feast”, in Tovuz – “demonstration of the girl”, in Masalli and Lenkeran – “gathering at the girl’s”, in Guba - “henna smearing” and in Absheron – “hennanane”. At night of “henna smearing” according to traditions, the groom comes to the bride’s house for “toy payi” (wedding portion) and took sheep and hen, giving gifts and money in return. According to the tradition it is appropriate to steel “toy payi”, but in 1980’s it was prepared in advance and given to groom. Sometimes the musicians stay in the bride’s house and merry-making, dances continue until the morning.

In the second day of the wedding there are held dances in the groom’s house. Holding a “gulesh” (wrestling show) is kept in some villages up till now. As far back as 1970’s, this tradition existed in every village of Azerbaijan. Famous wrestlers from different gathered together to weight their power in the wedding.[10] At the end of the wedding a caravan is sent to the bride’s house (nowadays-a car) to bring the bride to the groom’s house (“gelin getirme”). On the way back boys detain the caravan with the groom and bride to get a gift (“xelet”).

Both palms of the bride are tied up with a white or red handkerchief under which they put money, which were taken by the groom and bride’s yenge, untying the bride’s hands before the wedding night.

After the wedding

A ceremony called “uze chixdi”, symbolizing the end of “absence” period is held a few days after the wedding. In the past, according to the tradition, the bride didn’t overstep the limits of a yard room during a month after the wedding, but the first weeks didn’t left even her. She didn’t speak to her mother-in-law and father-in-low a week. After the “uze chixdi” ceremony the nearest relatives of the bride (except mother and father) and the groom get together in his house, greet the newlyweds, present them valuable gifts or give money.

New winds

Despite the significant traditionality, Azerbaijan wedding suffered a lot of significant changes during the last decades. Taking photos of a young couple on the wedding day and a white dress as the wedding dress of the bride has widely spread. Particularly, the strictness of the concealment of a young couple before the wedding has softened. Groom, or rarely a bride can sit at a table with guests. In recent years, a groom got a right to participate in the engagement ceremony. These changes are notably dynamic in city weddings. It is considered that subsequent changes will continue in village weddings in coming years. One of the tendencies is the refusal of “the wedding without newlyweds”, of traditions of hiding the bride before the wedding. The length of marriage period is also shortened. If formerly a wedding could last for 3 or 7 days, then nowadays it lasts for a day.