Posted on December 31, 2019
The last day of the year! People all over the world celebrate endings and fresh starts, the hope of a New Year, the celebration of the Old.
In Azerbaijan, people celebrate the tearing down of a border fence between Iran and Soviet Azerbaijan, in December 1989 - and the collapse of the Berlin Wall (November through December 1989)!
The idea behind this holiday is that Azerbaijanis all over the world share many values, a common history, and therefore a psychological unity.
The whole thing about the border fence on the border shared with Iran is that ethnic Azerbaijanis traditionally lived in the areas now carved up into Iran, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Turkey. So that fence artificially divided a people and likely many families.
A "diaspora" means the dispersing of a people from their original homeland. Diasporas are sometimes caused by natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions or horrific droughts, but they are more often caused by war, repression, or exile. The Azerbaijani diaspora resulted in Azerbaijanis living in European nations (such as Belarus, Ukraine, and the U.K.), in North America (Canada and the U.S.), and in nearby Asian nations (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan). I hope many people who live away from Azerbaijan will be able to visit there!