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How much do Azerbaijanis spend on New Year gifts?

29 December 2017 [10:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Aygul Salmanova

There are few days left until the start of the New Year. Santa Claus is already packing presents and equipping his sleigh!

As in most parts of the world, New Year is a long-awaited holiday in Azerbaijan. For Azerbaijanis it always comes with the fresh beginning from where you can forget about the past bad memories and just can go with the good memories. Right from the beginning of December everyone slips into holiday mode, and it becomes the top priority on everyone's list. 

People make wishes, believe in miracles and wait for a new and happy period in their lives on this night. Preparation for the New Year begins a month before the celebration: the streets are decorated with colorful lights, fairy-tale figures and green spruce trees.

Another characteristic tradition of Azerbaijanis on the eve of the holiday is to buy presents for their relatives and friends. It is not a secret that buying New Year gifts is a colorable but at the same time troublesome, expensive business.

The difficult economic situation in Azerbaijan has made adjustments to the pre-Christmas shopping of its citizens: great part of the population is ready to spend less money compared to previous years. The Chairman of the Center for Sustainable Development Studies Nariman Agayev told local media that this is due to low incomes of citizens and higher prices in shops and trade outlets of the country.

Despite the desire to save money, however, Azerbaijanis like to give a lot of gifts. Expert noted that this year Azerbaijani citizens will spend 100 ($58) to 3,000 ($1,765) manats for gifts. Therefore, on average, the population will spend about 1 billion manats ($588,419,791) for the purchase of presents.

Classic New Year gifts of Azerbaijanis are technology and electronics. This trend has not changed this year as well.

“Monitoring in the country's outlets has shown that the population is already engaged in the selection of gifts for the New Year. Family people, in general, prefer to give something for the house, in particular, household equipment. Quite often these are vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, irons,” Agayev notes.

Commenting on what kind of New Year gifts Azerbaijanis usually buy, the expert noted that it depends on the category of citizens divided on their income level.

“Much depends on the income of the population. There is a category of citizens who are willing to spend enough to buy gifts. I know one man who is preparing a gift for his family - a trip to France. It cost him very cheap. However, there is a category of men who buy diamonds as a gift," he added.

On the eve of the New Year, the retail outlets are overcrowded mostly with women who prefer to buy cosmetics, jewelry, various certificates and coupons in beauty salons as New Year gifts. The number of men compared to women is considerably low, the expert said.

Of note, in January-October of the year 2017, prices for goods and services in Azerbaijan grew by 13.7 percent: prices for food products increased by 17.6 percent, non-food products - by 12.4 percent, for paid services - by 9.6 percent.

How Azerbaijanis celebrate New Year  

Celebrating the New Year for each person is of special value. Many people associate this event with the crunch of snow underfoot, the smell of tangerines and spruce, a warm home atmosphere. Children's laughter, chimes, fireworks and a richly decorated table are the main attributes of the holiday. Being a very hospitable people, as well as great masters in cooking, Azerbaijanis usually meet this holiday at home, in the circle of their family and close people, for whom they prepare various delicacies.

It is customary in Azerbaijan to celebrate the New Year with family or friends. Close people gather together on the evening of December 31st to meet the New Year. They usually remember what happened in the outgoing year - good or, conversely, bad. People talk about what important happened in their life throughout the year and wish each other happiness.

Traditional for the Azerbaijani New Year table dishes are the salad “Capital” and Azerbaijani plov, lyvangi (from fish or chicken), Azerbaijani pilaf and dolma.

Also, among the dishes of the Azerbaijani national cuisine on the festive tables you can see lyulya-kebab (this dish is fried on a spit on an open fire), kutab (a thin dough with stuffing inside - from meat, cheese, spicy greens, pumpkin, etc.) as well as tick kebab (shish kebab from pieces of lamb meat marinated in a mixture of onion, vinegar and pomegranate juice).

In addition, on New Year's Eve baliq (pieces of sturgeon or other fish, roasted on coals, like a shish kebab). Usually people prepare many more intricate time-consuming dishes, some of which can be tried no more than once a year.

There are a considerable number of citizens, however, who prefer to celebrate New Year holidays in other regions of Azerbaijan while the number of those leaving the country decreases. Last year about 180,000 Azerbaijani citizens went abroad for the New Year, which compared to the previous years was quite a low indicator, said economist Natig Jafarli.

“In previous years about two or even three times more citizens left the country for New Year holidays. For example, before the devaluation in December, 350,000-400,000 citizens spent holidays abroad. For this year, I think, the number of those who leave will hardly exceed 150,000 persons” he said.

Azerbaijan, with its unique culture and history, is the best choice for those who want to spend unforgettable New Year holidays. The country is among the favorite destinations for a large number of tourists as well.


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