Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

Over and over March 8…

March 8, 2007

It is pleasant… Very.

Apart from flower prices going upwards 3-4 times… poor guys…

But it’s nice when people who you expect to congradulate you less of all remember you this day… an sms… a phone call … and you are touched… and you are kinder

Flowers.. a flower … and we smile… how things can be changed …

And a wish… …

Parading Barekendan

February 18, 2007

A group of youngsters with funny appearances, masks and painted faces walking down the streets, blowing whistles all over the way and making joyous and elated sounds and crying out – “Զարթնեք… Wake up!!».

Via we learn:

Barekendan is an old Armenian traditional festival that we are seeking to revive as a form of civil action by calling upon the citizens to “wake up” and become involved in social processes in Armenia. […]it is an occasion in which people are urged not to be passive and instead alert. As Lent begins the day after Barekendan, it is the final call for people to be uninhibited in their actions prior to the start of a period of fasting.

[…] Seeing as how the Parliamentary elections of 2007 are critical for the democratization processes in Armenia, Barekendan serves as an ideal occasion for the civil society activists to call upon their fellow dormant citizens to “wake up” and become involved. We are seeking to accomplish this goal by organizing a parade and day of festivities on February 18, 2007. On this day, we plan on dressing in costumes, offering face painting, passing out sweets and candies among other treats.

And while people gathered there were mainly those young society activists who you always see at any such occasion, the same message of wakening up the people in a sense was lost in the same whistlings, because when people’s first reaction is “Արա…է՞ս ովքեր են”, “who are these?” or “Երեխեքը ուրախանում են”, “Kids are making fun” supposes itself that from aside people do not think that you call upon them to become active and involved. Of course this will mainly come from the ‘men in black’ aka ‘rabiz’ representatives of the society for who these ‘kids’ seem funny in general.


Our ‘Table Gap’

February 5, 2007

Today I was meant to have my first lesson at university after winter holidays, but I didn’t… because I overslept…

It was my birthday the previous night. I never like making it into a big event and I always try to escape from big preparations and luxurious tables with khorovats being its inseparable component. But I also don’t like celebrating them at restaurants with the rabiz environment around. I managed to escape to Tsakhkadzor last year and celebrate my birthday at the resting house’s bar with two friends and students from other universities who I never knew before. But the other day when I returned I found my mum laying table – “we are just having dinner” – and later some twenty people joined us at the dinner table.

I never invite anyone to my birthday. I think that regardless of my invitation people close to me, who remember me and want to share that day with me bringing some change into it can always visit and have good time together, and it won’t really matter for them whether I put traditional barbeque on the table, some 5-6 types of salads, just for variety, or I treat them with just a cup of coffee. Of course I wouldn’t leave them to starve.
And so happened yesterday, when preliminary with no intention to celebrate and expecting only some ten friends to come, more thirty people appeared very unexpectedly. And that’s so damn pleasant when people remember you and they don’t actually need any invitation for it!


St. Sargis vs. St. Valentine

February 1, 2007

Yes, we have our own Armenian St. Valentine’s Day! I mean not exactly. Our saint is not Valentine but Sargis, and so we have St. Sargis’es Day! St. Sargis is a beloved religious observance, especially popular among the youth. It is celebrated 63 days before Easter, on a Saturday falling sometime between January 18 and February 23. This year, St. Sargis is observed on February 3.

For a long time Armenian priests were trying to fight against the western saint – “Why to worship other’s saint when we have our one?”. And still the youth would give presents to their beloved ones on February 14. And all of Armenian church’s attempts to turn the people on Armenian traditions would go flop.

Till this year-I’m afraid to say? Well, the date of St. Sargis was declared 3rd of February about two weeks ago. And now I guess the majority of the youth is aware of it. Wow, there are even special Armenian chocolates for that day…and they are on sale!!

I can’t wait witnessing what will happen this year and who will win – the Armenian church or the west 😉 Will the couples give presents to each other on February 3 or February 14? Or they will prefer make presents on all the two days? Hmm… that must be the most preferable I guess… more presents 😉


Motherland, my graveyard!

January 13, 2007

And why do people usually remember their motherland at the deathbed?

Two huge four stored houses were built in front of our building. I don’t want to talk about the gardens around my building which were destroyed and more houses were built at the place around it, which in the past was the only building block in all the surroundings. Now not a garden is left, even if anything is left the community administration is selling them to those who can afford buying those areas and cutting our air by building more houses some ten meters away from our building. Instead of the non-lucrative trees only some new not fitting for the area restaurants, beer-drinking places, not bars exactly, and more houses rise. Most of them are still empty for the second year, the restaurant place is on sale yet it is half constructed and the cosmetic repairing is not done at all, because just on the half of the way it dawned on some very clever businessman that this place doesn’t fit for any restaurant. Just a waste of a soil! And money?

It was so unexpected for us when some people came and said that they had bought the soil where we had a garden with pomegranate, quince, lentil trees and vine. The thing was that we tried to carry over the area long time ago and when we’d apply for ownership they would refuse us. Once money is played, everything is sorted…for them. Luckily due to some contacts we could preserve half of it, and the other half will serve as a basis for another house.

But let’s come to the question I asked at the very beginning. Most of those houses are built by diasporans, the houses are ready to be lived in and yet… they are emptying for the second year. So where are the owners? Or is it a duty, some kind of an obligation to have a property in the motherland with the hope to return when something goes wrong in their current living countries?

Some “After-New-Year” Advice

January 12, 2007

Hey, How are you? I mean is everyone ok after the New Year food festival lasting for several days? Ask the same question to me – no, I’m not good, I was so bad, well, I’m ok now, but God, why I don’t like this time? You guessed, it’s a rhetoric question, I know why I don’t like it, but this year was the worst New Year in my life. I fell ill and had to spend most of the time in bed because of high temperature and, of course, disordered stomach. I managed to get cold on the 1st of January, had nearly a bottle of ‘machar’ on the 2nd, in case when I usually get drunk of just a sip of a wine, so unaccustomed I am, and on the 3rd of January I couldn’t already move because of terrible pain in my feet, stomach and temperature. So I had a real fun by drinking thousands of different and horribly bad tasting liquids and stuff. It lasted for about 5 days and thankfully I’m fine now, hoping not to get other infections.

All this time I didn’t have internet and wasn’t anyhow able to get to the center and pay for it. And thus I was slumbering in a long and total quiescence, if not considered the amount of guests we had to welcome and see off.

I think feast-victims won’t be less at this time and as far as the medical system here cannot be trusted I want to offer here some of my personal treatment methods, which, I assure you, are safe and tested by me personally. Usually whenever anything goes wrong with my health I know that I am my first and only true doctor, as I have had enough of my bitter experience with doctors and wouldn’t actually call an ambulance even when I was tumbling with pain, as I was pretty much sure that the most they could do would be just injecting some pain reliever (as if it would never dawn on us) insuring that they have at least done something. And of course the pain would start some time later.

Well, let’s start.

Blogging and New Year

December 26, 2006

It’s snowing outdoors, it’s magnificent, everything white and clean…though more cars piled in a traffic jam in the streets…and more problems and “I hate New Year”s piled on the shoulders of this show-off nation with every drop of a snow-flake. In several days the New 2007 Year will knock at our doors and the same and well traditioned madness will start again, or rather it will continue with the same haste.

And here I remember my first post “Oof es nor tarin el” which I made at Onnik’s Oneworld Multimedia, hereinafter designating myself with one more synonym-blogger. Wow, it’s already a year that I’m blogging, not every day, not every week though, but well, at least I hope what I had to say was to some interest to anyone.

Funny thing, if not this New Year insanity probably I would never do my first steps and blog anything, as it was the main thing to force me leave all the tiresome New Year preparations at our place and release my complaints and thoughts by jotting them down, which Onnik welcomed at his blog. They say “Anything happens for reason”!

Yet, nothing has changed since last New Year, just with one exception that being superstitious some people probably will not have ham on their tables, as 2007 is a Year of Swine according to the Oriental Horoscope, think less pigs will be slaughtered this year, at least one good part of it (wish every year was pig’s year).

Khaghoghorhneq – Grape Blessing

August 13, 2006

It is “Khaghoghorhneq” today (“Grape Blessing”, gush, how difficult it is to type that word in English letters!) The church celebrates it together with Saint Mary’s Day. href=””>The Armenian church gives the origin of the holiday.

Blessing of the Grapes is one of the most beloved ceremonies in the Armenian Church calendar. Most of us would recall people who refuse to eat grapes until the fruit is “officially” sanctified by the local clergyman.


Grapes do have a certain symbolic significance in Christianity (think of all the references which Jesus made to wine and “the vine and the branch”, references which are still repeated in the Divine Liturgy.

The occasion on which we celebrate the blessing of grapes is a major feast day called “Assumption of the Holy Mother-of-God” and it too, underscores a wonderful insight unique to Christianity. The story of assumption concerns St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and ho having completed her life on earth, she was taken up in body and soul—“assumed”—into Heaven. This was a special courtesy, performed by Christ many years after his Ascension, as a loving tribute to the mother who bore and raised him.

Just to say that every year we used to go to the Surb Mariam Astvatsatsin Church at Nork-Marash on foot, and it usually took more than two hours from my place. I didn’t go this year but I don’t mind eating the blessed grapes my folks brought from the church. Not that they are blessed and I expect to be blessed as well, just I sort of felt I want to eat nothing but grapes today. So I’m cutting this short and getting to eating more, hope I won’t have problems by the evening 😉

And Sasun danced…

June 12, 2006

Today I passed my 4th exam on USA Area Studies. Among 70 questions there was only one question, on which the professor had never spoke. Not surprising it was that I took a ticket and turning it I read that exact question: “American-Spanish War”. For a moment I thought: “Aha, Zarchka, you’r caught, you’r flunked”. But eventually I dared let the professor know about it and he just calmed me down saying that that’s the same question as “War with Mexico”. Then again I thought: “Now keep calm Zarchka, consider that you’ve already got your excellent mark”.

But the worse is the best. I cannot treat myself to a holiday unless I pass my stylistics, which, I hope, will occur in several days.

Although, regardless of that fact, today I decided to have a walk with a friend of mine before getting again absorbed in my books. Our conversation was not a cheerful one and we both were in low spirits. The air was depressing, especially when we tried to avoid crowded places, but as far as the downtown is not big enough as to find a deserted place and the cafes appear at every corner like mushrooms, we decided to walk to Opera. For a moment I felt like characterizing the city as a ‘crowded desert’. The other moment I heard sounds of music coming from the Opera Square. Those were not the tedious sounds that you can hear at any café. Approaching we saw a crowd of people in Armenian national dresses (Taraz), who made a round holding by each others’ shoulders and dancing to Armenian National music, accompanied by ‘zurna-dhol’. I inquired and found out that ensemble of ethnic dances ‘Sasun’ had given a concert at Opera hall, after which they had decided to dance outdoors. “ Sasuntses are dancing”- said a woman with amazement.

That was so spectacular!! People had surrounded them and some of them even joined the dancers when they started dancing the ordinary and well-known dance ‘Ver-very’, (that is 2 steps to the right, left foot up and right, right foot up and left). For that several minutes I totally forgot about everything in the world and I was just grasping the energy which was sent by those people. Simultaneously I remembered words of a poem:

And danced Sasun
And all the people got amazed,
And danced Sasun,
And all the people understood
That not a dance this is,
But the history of the nation
Whose defeat even has its proud…
Dance Sasun!!!

I could hardly restrain myself from dancing and now I regret about it. Although I was pleased to see the youth knowing at least how to dance ‘ver-very’. I’ve always kept to the opinion that every person must know the ethnic dances of their nation. That is the strong power which keeps people united, at least while dancing…

I also regret for not having my camera with me… It’s not always that one can witness such an undertaking in the streets of Yerevan, but when it happens it is worth seeing and hearing and feeling. Later I had what is called ‘paradigm shift’ and announced that our city is a ‘crowded desert with small oasis’, just one must be at the proper place at the proper time…


April 15, 2006

How I like this holiday!! This is my favorite celebration and I do all the works connected with it with such pleasure that I never complain that I’m tired, unlike New Year preparations.  

I don’t want to go in details how and where this tradition comes from, moreover that there are several different dimensions. I hope you all know it’s origin. Just to mention in two words: Easter is one of the important Christian holydays. In Armenian it’s called “Zatik”, which means "Harutyan ton" (Resurrection holiday). Easter is in remembrance of the last days of Christ and his Crucifixion. 48 days before Easter people usually fast and the idea of Lent is for people to give up certain pleasures and perhaps make some sacrifices in remembrance of suffering of Christ. Sometimes egg symbolizes the tomb from which Christ rose after his death, sometimes it symbolizes the whole world. The continual rebirth of physical life on earth symbolizes the eternity of spiritual life. This day people attend church services, mainly those who fast. 

Easter is a happy time, at least for me. Everyone is in a mess and busy trying to do all the necessary and demanded traditions connected mainly with food. That day it’s a usual thing to see your neighbors coming out from another neighbor’s house with  saucepans in his hands all filled with  water of different colors. Thus, sometimes the whole block ( if they are in good terms) uses the same saucepans for dyeing the eggs. That's cool.. right..! 

My Easter basket  Children are roaming with eggs in their hands and pockets and “fighting” with each other. The one who cracks the other's egg owns it. In order to gather more eggs, sometimes children cheat and make mock eggs from stone, wood or paraffin. 

Armenia the meals associated with Easter are fish, rice, verdures. Fish is usually whether fried or boiled. My mom usually cooks fish not in water but she steams it and fish doesn’t lose its real taste. I advise you make it the same way, it’s much tastier.  Rice is usually made with raisins and dried fruits and is served with fried lavish (Armenian national thin bread). Fried verdures are the necessary components of traditional table. We call them “Panjar” or “Jingyal”. I wonder whether there are other nations who eat almost all kinds of verdures. I always say that if you leave an Armenian in some deserted area, he will survive only by eating verdures. In fact, I also like verdures. They are served whether fried with eggs or in  pastry, which is more common in Kharabakh and is called “Jingyalov huts”. It’s very tasty!!
Eggs are eaten rolled in lavash with lots of verdures mainly tarragon, which is also an Armenian verdure with mild menthol taste. Red wine is the main beverage on Easter table. 

This year Easter falls on April 16, but the congratulations and feast celebrations begin on April 15 starting from 5pm. When people meet each other one of them says: "Qristos haryav i merelots" (Christ has arisen from dead), and the other responds: "Orhnyal e harutyune Qristosi" (Let his Resurrection be blessed).  

Then the whole family gathers to have dinner. At my place not only my family, but our relatives and friends, in total of about 20 people, gather as well. It  became a custom to celebrate Easter at our place, and reasons for that are different. One of them is that my mom is very good at cooking, and I decorate the table in a way that no one else can do (…let me show off a little..) But the main one is that the doors of our house are always open for good people and the hospitality with which they are treated every time attracts them to gather at our place again and again… 

I wish everyone Happy Easter…!! Enjoy the joyous moments of this day…!! 

-Քրիստոս հարյավ ի մեռելոց-Օրհնյալ է հարությունը Քրիստոսի