Home page    » ETHNOGRAPHY    » Customs and traditions    » Hospitality   




Hospitality has a long history, one that is inherent in all nations of the world. Like other traditions of each nation it has its own traditions of hospitality and visiting.
The hospitality with the roots going backward to the period of primitive communal tribe, at that time are done to the people, travelers lost their way, those in need of spending of night and seeking protection. At that time, there was no contact with the outside world, so every person coming to tribe is accepted with respect as the herald of news.

Traditions of hospitality
In the ancient times, Azerbaijani people had very interesting and instructive traditions of hospitality. These practices are still continuing. Our nation was always very kind, attentive and careful with guests.
The ”shelters” built for travelers losing their ways, tired and coming late have reached us as memory of  ancient times. This is another manifestation of hospitality. Our nation respected guest not only in their own homes, but even if they remained outside they were provided with shelter.
In ancient times there were some forms of traditions to meet the dear and respected guests. People used to gather at a designated place.  The two groups were formed, in one of them elders and veteran groups were used to march and they had in the hands  a red-coated panel (the sample of cover used for panel is now kept at the Ethnography museum of the history of Azerbaijan), with circular form of tandir bread having  patterns, salt, mirror, syrup and rose water. The second group is composed of statesmen of the country, and saz players, singers and ashigs  followed them a little bit away from the first group. The people meeting the guest were in own clothes. They accompanied the guest by the sounds of music, give them syrup, flowers, bread and salt and poured the rose water and flowers under feet. While guest entered the village, carpets decorated with national ornaments from Guba, Karabakh, Shirvan and brocade and the tirma were laid under their feet.
In another case, before the guest entered a city or village one strong young boy used to cut as a sacrifice one ram or calf with a red ribbon on horns or red cloth on neck. Its blood was shed under the feet of guest and guest touching a blood with hand crossed over the sacrifice. The meat of cut calf or ram is distributed to the poor. Then the guest passed through the line of forty girls holding vases with fruits and dried fruits and everybody welcomed the guest. Willow branches, flowers are poured on the path went by guest and carpet were laid.

There are some accepted rules and regulations how to serve a meal for guests.   
The most suitable dish for guest in Azerbaijan is the tika, lula kebab from mutton and pilaw. However, they are served on table with other food and non-alcoholic drinks. Before the meal served one young boy approached the guest with vessel to help them to wash hands and then dark tea, lemon, jam and finally the meal are served at table. According to the tradition, if all food is served at once it was accepted as rudeness, and they are served on table in turn.
The guest is taken to special bedroom for spending the night. By the way, it should be noted that in Azerbaijan the place for night is provided for guest in balakhana. Balakhana is built over the entrance to the courtyard that as guest entering the yard goes directly to his room and don’t see home family. Existence of balakhana, guest rooms and a guest house set in a few extra blankets once again proving for the hospitality of our people.

Oxunub: 156704