On March 19-21, 2018, the 3rd International Folklore Festival "Terekeme Chershenbesi" was held in the village of Gegeli, Agsu region. The organizers of the Festival were the Social Organization in Support of Studying of Cultural Heritage of MIRAS and the Nomadic Tarakama Folklore Research and Promotion Group under the Secondary school named after Hagigat Musayev of Gagali village. Organized assistance in carrying out the international event was provided by the Culture and Tourism Regional Department of the Ismayilli District by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Executive Power of the Agsu Region, the Folklore Institute of ANAS, AzGranata and Allprint.
In the beginning, a master class was held on study the techniques of decorative weaving (the locals call it "çığ") for the students of the Gegeli rural secondary school named after Hagigat Musayev, which was represented by Prof.Dr. Kubra Aliyeva. Not only schoolchildren joined the master class, but also local residents and guests of the festival. The famous felt artist Mehriban Aliyeva conducted a master class on felt art, where she showed different techniques for making decorative felt.
The exhibition site of the Festival demonstrated the works of photographers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, photographed during previous festivals, mixed paintings, archaeological materials accidentally discovered in the necropolis of Nargizava, handicrafts of villagers, palas and carpets, terekeme tent, the guests also saw the way of preparing yukha (lavash) and kutabs.
Opening the Festival, the chairman of the Social Organization in Support of Studying of Cultural Heritage of MIRAS, Dr. Fariz Khalilli spoke about the importance of holding such an international event in one of the largest villages of the Agsu region - Gegeli. He emphasized that folklore groups from Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Iran participate in the festival along with the creative collectives of Azerbaijan. Noting the assistance of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva in including intangible cultural heritage in the list of UNESCO, Fariz Khalilli expressed deep faith that the tradition of "Terekeme Chershenbesi" will someday be recorded as a folklore example of worldwide significance. He expressed his gratitude to all organizations that supported the festival, including the intellectuals of Agsu.
The head of the Executive Power of the Agsu district, Enver Seidaliyev, wished good luck to the folklore festival "Terekeme Chershenbesi" and stated that it would support the forthcoming festivals. Having told about the importance of rural tourism, Enver Seidaliyev also stated to villagers about the soonest solution of the water and road problem, which will be the result of assistance of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to the economic and cultural development of the regions of the country.
An associate of the Institute of Folklore of ANAS, candidate of philological sciences Afag Mustafayeva passed a congratulatory letter from the director of the institute, academician Mukhtar Imanov to the festival and wished success. Head of the Department of Culture of the Kars Caucasian University in Turkey Chetin Adigozal, director of the Derbent Azerbaijan State Drama Theater of the Russian Federation Firdousi Askerov, president of the Georgian Association "Georgia for Friends" Tamara Basilashvili, member of the Ashugs' Union of Iran - the Ustad Arif Hamidi, head of the department of Architecture and Art Institute of ANAS, Prof.Dr. Kubra Aliyeva and director of the secondary school named after Hagigat Musayev of Gegeli village - Sabit Abdullayev greeted the participants of the festival.
The festival continued with the artistic program for two days. First, the students-members of the Nomadic Tarakama Folklore Research and Promotion Group under the Secondary school named after Hagigat Musayev of Gagali village came out with an interesting program. The folklore group Lahij originally represented the folklore of Lahij. The composition "I am a Copper" especially aroused great interest among the audience. The musicians of the Khanchoban Group of Agsu were distinguished by their unique performance during the whole festival. The actors of the Derbent Azerbaijan State Drama Theater of the Russian Federation recreated the traditions and customs of Novruz with their special holiday program and performed an interactive show, mixing with the local residents. Members of the music band MIRAS Ruslan Adgozalov and Jahandar Mikayilov performed folk songs. And the group "Injilar", which consists of MIRAS members, presented samples from the collection of national clothes of the architect, fashion designer Lalandar Novruzova, folk dances "Terekeme" and "Yalli", choreographed by Rasima Ahmedova, and Gulshan Huseynova was the organizer. De-fillet of national clothes was accompanied by a live performance of the song "Sari Gelin" in mugam style by the head of the MIRAS Music band Ruslan Adgozalov. The teacher of the Kars Caucasian University of Turkey Chetin Adigozal performed Azerbaijani folk songs. The band "Sameba" of the Republic of Georgia performed with an expanded program of folk songs, and members of the Ilori Children's Folklore Group presented Georgian dances. Speech of the member of the Ashugs' Union of Iran – the Ustad Arif Hamidi and women's band with percussion musical instruments "def" gave a special coloring to the festival. Ashug Amil Bijolu and Ashug Rza performed emotional Ashug melodies. The students of the school-lyceum No. 1 with a bias of natural sciences named after Aslan Nadirov in Agsu presented a composition dedicated to the holiday. The performance, musical shows and dances prepared by the students of the State University of Culture and Art of Azerbaijan, aroused the interest of those present and attracted the villagers to the program.
During the Festival the guests got acquainted with the plant of the food industry of the company AzGranata, where they had a chance to taste the products of the plant.
Guests also got acquainted with archaeological monuments, which were preserved in the Complex of Archaeological Tourism of the medieval town of Agsu. Dr. Fariz Khalilli told them about the historical significance of Agsu, the results of excavations and future prospects.
The program of national games and competitions, prepared by a member of the MIRAS Social Organization Nargiz Garayeva, caused the joint activity of guests and local residents. They tried themselves in arm-wrestling, competed in actions for tightening the rope and carrying the eggs.
Local residents and guests burned a fire in honor of "Chershenbe" on the nearby mountain, they threw shamal, they flew the lanterns of dreams. Having settled in the houses and eaten the Shirvan pilau for dinner, the festival participants didn't get to sleep the whole night till the morning and, thus, according to the local customs, took off the chilla (litigation).
On March 21, early in the morning burned a fire "Terekeme chershenbesi" and traced the ceremony of holding animals between two fires. Then all the participants of the festival, who hadn't fallen asleep, also passed between two fires.
On the last day of the festival, all the participants, performers and organizers of the festival were given certificates.