Azerbaijan Independence Day (also known as, State Sovereignty Day) is celebrated on October 18, with utmost zeal and fervor. Twenty-six years back, on 18 October 1991, Azerbaijan embraced a law on state independence and became the next republic to officially declare its withdrawal from the USSR.
In the decision of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan, it expressed that the Republic of Azerbaijan was restoring its autonomy, and viewed itself as the legitimate successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which existed from 1918 to 1920.
The Independence Day in Azerbaijan is celebrated with great enthusiasm. There is a special flag-raising ceremony, followed by memorial ceremonies and independence day special seminars. Azerbaijan citizens, whether at home or abroad, celebrate the occasion of the birth of their nation with joy and happiness.
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- 1 When is Azerbaijan Independence Day 2019?
- 2 Azerbaijan Independence History: How did Azerbaijan gain independence?
- 3 Azerbaijan Independence Day Celebrations, Customs & Traditions
When is Azerbaijan Independence Day 2019?
Section # 1
Azerbaijan Independence History: How did Azerbaijan gain independence?
Azerbaijan honors Independence Day on October 18, every year. Exactly 27 years ago in 1991, after the adoption of the Constitutional Act, Azerbaijan gained freedom, having surmounted many challenges.
History definitely proves to us that saving the autonomy is significantly more difficult than gaining it. Azerbaijan twice had the chance to end up a sovereign state amid the twentieth century. Unfortunately, the first opportunity failed shortly because of outside interference, internal opposition, and the general political insecurity.
Azerbaijan became the first secular democratic state in the Islamic world in 1918 and came to be known as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. However, this independence was short-lived and existed for only 23 months!
The country got a second opportunity for independence after more than 70 years! The collapse of the Soviet Union paved the way to an independent, free state and Azerbaijan got successful in restoring the lost independence.
At the end of the 20th century, Azerbaijan raised their voice for an independent state. It was 1991, to which historians refer a strange, hard, but joyful time for the Azerbaijanis. The USSR was a breath away from collapse, which gave a chance to Azerbaijanis to try their luck for independence again.
USSR taking last breaths: Azerbaijan Progresses Towards Independence
Seeing the USSR taking its last breathes, the expectations of the people of Azerbaijan reached its top level and they were ready to do anything possible to bring their independence closer.
Those were people who were reinforced by multi-hour rallies at open squares and saw the horrors of the January 1990 mass killings, when the Soviet empire, which was a breathe away from collapse, submitted horrifying acts in a peaceful town. But Soviet tanks were no longer able to block the path of Independent Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan, which lost many its ordinary men, women, and children in the deadly battle for autonomy, was constantly progressing towards another life, another reality. Lastly, the desired day came!
Azerbaijan becomes an independent state: Azerbaijani Parliament receives the Constitutional Act on the Reclamation of the State Autonomy
The Azerbaijani Parliament received the Constitutional Act on the reclamation of the state autonomy on October 18, 1991. With regards to this record, Azerbaijan has pronounced the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which existed in 1918-1920. As indicated by the Constitution Act, all residents are ensured full equality regardless of ethnicity or religion.
After the authorization of the Constitutional Act, Azerbaijan held a nationwide vote on December 29, 1991. The poll paper of the choice included just a single question: “Do you support the Constitutional Act on the state Independence of Azerbaijan?” Over 95 percent of voters participated in the submission and collectively voted in favor of freedom.
In March 1992, Azerbaijan became a member of the United Nations. The country’s national anthem and national flag, as well as the coat of arms, were approved by the parliament, a few months later in May and June 1992.
Azerbaijan National Flag & Symbols
The National Flag of Azerbaijan consists of three equal horizontal stripes, from top: blue, red and green. There is a white crescent and an eight-pointed star in the middle red-colored horizontal band. Here’s what the symbols and colors of Azerbaijan’s National Flag represent:
- Blue Color – the color of the Turks
- Red Color – symbolizes progress and Europeanisation
- Green Color – represents Islam
- Eight-pointed star (Rub El Hizb) ☆ – represent the branches of the Turkic peoples
Section # 2
Azerbaijan Independence Day Celebrations, Customs & Traditions
Azerbaijan celebrates its Independence Day every year on October 18. Exactly 28 years ago today, after the adoption of the Constitutional Act, Azerbaijan gained the long-awaited freedom, going through so many crucial challenges.
It’s the most important day in the history of Azerbaijan, as it reminds the modern Azerbaijan of the sacrifice of thousands of people who lost their precious lives just for their country’s freedom and independence.
Azerbaijan Independence Day: Public Life
Azerbaijan is an independent state since Oct 18, 1991. The citizens of Azerbaijan celebrate this special day with the utmost enthusiasm, zeal, and fervor.
Back in 1992, the Azerbaijan Independence Day was declared a national holiday as well as non-working day. In 2006 however, the country’s parliament introduced amendments to the labor code, and shockingly announced that the Azerbaijan Independence Day, should be a normal working day but with the status of a holiday.
Azerbaijan Independence Day Celebration: How it’s celebrated?
Unlike other independent countries, the Independence Day celebrations in Azerbaijan are limited. There’s just a normal flag-raising ceremony in the morning, followed by a military parade.
In 2006, the republic’s parliament introduced amendments to the labor code and unpredictably announced that the Day of State Independence should be a regular working day. Since then, many citizens of the republic, especially the youth often don’t even know what happened on 18 October and why it’s an important event in the history of Azerbaijan. Leaders of foreign states even started to send congratulatory letters on 28 May, the day of the proclamation of the first republic in 1918!
Only a few people decorate their homes with small state flags, you may also see a bus or two with small state flags. Other than that, it’s just an ordinary weekday.
Some Interesting Facts about Azerbaijan
The Republic of Azerbaijan is a country in the South Caucasus. With these interesting facts about Azerbaijan, let’s discover more about its history, culture, traditions, people and more…
- Azerbaijan is known as “the Land of Fire”. The word “Azer” means, Fire. This is because the people living in Azerbaijan before thousands of years from today worshipped the fire and considered it as their god.
- National Drink of Azerbaijan: Tea is the country’s favorite beverage. It’s part of almost all functions, parties, and gatherings. Jam, lemon, mint, and rosewater are often used to give that extra rich and royal flavor to the tea.
- National Animal: Karabakh horse is the national animal of Azerbaijan
- National Language: Azerbaijani is the country’s national language. Russian is the second most spoken language.
- National Symbol: Flames of Fire
- National Anthem: “Azerbaijan Marsi” (March of Azerbaijan)
- Average Life Span: 72 to 73 years
- Azerbaijan first became independent in 1918. Unfortunately, the independence was short-lived and two years later in 1920, the country was once again incorporated into the Soviet Union for more than 70 years!
- The country has a majority-Turkic and majority-Shia Muslim population
- The country has more than 1000 unlimited mineral water resources and this is the reason why some call this country “the museum of mineral waters”.
- Azerbaijan is a land of many rivers. There are more than 8400 small and large rivers. 24 of these rivers are more than 100 kilometers long
- Baku is also home to the world’s first offshore oil platform – Oil Rocks
- Cotton and silk from Azerbaijan are known everywhere throughout the world since ages
- Azerbaijan exports wine worth $5 million every year
- Azerbaijan’s national currency (Manat) resembles the Euro in color, font, and size
- The country has the second highest percentage of Shia Muslim population
- Music is life in Azerbaijan. Mugham is one such folk musical composition from Azerbaijan.
- Azerbaijan is known for its age-old carpets that are sold in billions throughout the world. Many women are involved in weaving these carpets, and its a source of income for many.
- Baku, Azerbaijan is home to the world’s largest KFC branch!
- Oil reserves in Azerbaijan are expected to be worth trillions of dollars.
- Azerbaijan is home to the largest concentration of mud volcanoes. These mud volcanoes can be very cold, just near freezing. The two largest mud volcanoes of the world are in Azerbaijan named: Boyuk Khanizadagh and Turaghai
- Azerbaijan has an ever-burning spring (Yanar Bulag) in the city of Astara in southern Azerbaijan. The water of the spring has interesting high Methane content which sets it to fire when ignited. Local people trust that the spring has some healing properties too.
*OMG Fact: Azerbaijan has a 10 m long wall of fire that is burning since 1950. The enormous gas reserves in the region are supplementing the fire from within.The mysterious flames of the wall were first spotted by Marco Polo when he visited the region in the 13th century. The wall attracts lots of tourists across the globe.