Armenians celebrate holidays brightly and lavishly, the tables are always full of all sorts of goodies and all around reigns fun, festive and colorful atmosphere! In this article, we’d like to introduce you to the most favorite holidays of Armenians, and if you manage to visit the country during one of them, you will surely have a great time and will take away lots of pleasant memories.
Armenian Holidays: New Year
As it is common in many countries around the world Armenians celebrate the beginning of a new year on the night of December 31 to January 1. For more than a century, since the country’s accession to the Russian Empire, it has been celebrated brightly and joyfully, with gorgeous covered tables, accompanied by fireworks and crackers. Armenians start the preparations carefully and long before the beginning of the holiday as almost each Armenian table should be full of tasty dishes and treats. A few days before the feast the shops and supermarkets get empty, and skillful Armenian housewives spend all days in the kitchen, preparing holiday meals. According to the tradition, it is difficult to imagine a traditional Armenian table without roast pork leg, traditional tolma in grape leaves and lean pasus tolma, without festive salads, and beautifully decorated Armenian cheese and basturma. For dessert, they necessarily serve gentle puff pastry gata and bright made dish of dried fruits and nuts. New year for Armenians is a family holiday, which unites all the relatives and friends at one table. The main Republic Square of the capital is decorated with a huge Christmas tree around which in the evening of December 31 begins a colorful show program with the participation of famous pop singers and DJs. Five minutes before the new year the President and Chief Cathalicos congratulate the country and after the midnight the entire Armenian sky is illuminated by flashes of fireworks, organized in all major cities of Armenia. Armenians do not sleep all night, many visit their neighbors with warm greetings and gifts the others go to the main square for celebration.
Armenian Holidays: Christmas
As it is known, Armenia is the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion. Since this important event, Christian holidays have been strictly revered in the country. Among them, the most important one is, of course, a bright Christmas holiday. It is celebrated a day earlier than in Russia – on January 6. The Christmas Eve is here called «chralagyuc» and at this time all the candles are lit in the churches and the priests sing a special ancient hymn – “Great vow.” In the morning, Christians go to church for Christmas liturgy. If you wish to fully experience the beauty of the celebration in Armenia you should go to Echmiadzin – the religious center of all Armenians and the Residence of Armenian Apostolic Church. It is here where the main service is held. In the evening, all the family members gather around the Christmas table and eat traditional dishes.
Armenian Holidays: The day of Maternity and Beauty
In addition to the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8, Armenians have their national holiday of Maternity and Beauty. On the 7th of April, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the day of Virgin Mary, and by order of the Catholicos of all Armenians Garegin II, this date was also proclaimed the day of blessing of motherhood. Now this holiday is considered the main national women’s day. These wonderful spring days when it is getting warm, nature awakes from its long sleep, and everything is blooming, Armenians congratulate their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and wives and give them beautiful gives and warm wishes. On this day, the country holds special events, concerts, children’s competitions and exhibitions.
Armenian Holidays: Vardavar
If a hot summer Sunday afternoon you will stroll around the streets of Yerevan and suddenly you will be poured with water from a bucket, don’t get angry and look for the police because the 14th Sunday, starting from Easter, the Armenians celebrate the religious holiday Vardavar. There are several theories about the origin of the holiday, for example, many believe that it is associated with the Great Flood: when Noah came out of the ark he instructed his sons to pour water on each other in the memory of the flood. Now this day adults and children go to the streets and pour each other and sometimes even passers with water. For children, it is a real joy and fun.
Armenian Holidays: Independence Day
On the 21st of September 1991, at the International Referendum through popular vote Armenia withdrew from the USSR and was proclaimed an independent state. Since then Armenians have celebrated this auspicious day, which has become one of the major holidays of the Republic. That day schools and other institutions do not operate, all the cinemas screen Armenian films, galleries hold interesting exhibitions of Armenian artists, and on the main Republic Square there is a colorful concert witх the participation of pop stars.