Marriage being an important event of social life, the act of wedding in the old Azerbaijan society was enhanced with a great many ceremonies and rites. These were to prevent the future spouses from harm, diseases and venomous forces. Traditionally the wedding cycle is divided into three stages:
1. Pre-wedding period
2. The wedding feast by itself
3. Post-wedding period
During the pre-wedding period the family of a man chose a girl, matchmade, got the consent of the girl and her family, then the engagement (nischan in Azeri) followed. The engagement ceremony was arranged in the bride's house with the bridegroom's relatives coming and bringing gifts for her. These gifts mainly were national sweetmeats, remnants, shoes, silk and woolen jorabs (stockings) and sugar-loaf. They were put on big salvers wrapped in embroidered covers and were called Honcha. A ring was given to a bride during the engagement. The period between the engagement and the wedding by itself could last from 2 months to 2 years, according to current situation. This time was used to prepare the dower of a bride. Several days previous to the wedding such a ceremony as Parcha Bichini (cutting the wedding dress) was observed, when women of the both parties came together to entertain and cut out the wedding dress for the bride. One day before a bride was to leave her home to move to her husband's house her bridesmaids made her toilet. Among the rites of this day was Khna yahti that is putting khna on bride's hands and feet. The essence of the rite was to mark that a girl becomes a woman and lives the childhood behind. Dancing and singing accompanied making the bride's toilet and Khna yakhti.
The wedding party usually was held either in spring, around Novruz Bayram, or in autumn after the harvest yielding. In early times a wedding party could last from 2 to 7 days. On the last day of the wedding the bride was brought to the bridegroom's house where she was met with sweetmeats, coins and corns rained over her head. The bride was to overstep a piece of metal at the threshold of the house - this was the symbol of tenacity and faithfulness. The younger brother of the bridegroom or his cousin belted the bride's waist threefold. The magic force of a belt was used here. Also, a 2 or 3 years-old boy was put on the laps of the bride to wish her first-born to be a boy.
The post-wedding period began with Usa Chihdi - the rite of the bride coming out to public and taking the veil off. The guests gave the newly married couple valuable things and domestic utensils. The final event of this stage was the couple visiting the bride's father's house in three or four days after the wedding.
Now the wedding procedures became more simplified, being strictly observed either. For example, almost all the above rites are observed now depending on the way of life of the future spouses. Another tradition, necessarily observed in Baku, is the wedding train driving around the city and stopping on the seaside boulevard and Kirov Park.