Yana's Posts (7)

A FADING ART

    More and more forms of art are diappearing nowadays and tightrope dancing is one of them...    

    The art of tightrope dancing is one of the unique constituents of the cultural heritage of Armenia. These traditional travelling circus-art type troupes present elements of Armenian folk dance, national music, costume and even religious representations. 

    The art of tightrope dancing has existed in Armenia since pagan times, and the dancers were always seen as demigods. Later in Christian times, under the protection of St. Karapet  they considered again holy men, who connected the earth with the heaven. Everyone believed that only a young boy who had a vision of St. Karapet could ever become a tightrope dancer. People treated the tightrope dancer as some kind of deity, drank from the cup he balanced on his head, believing in the water’s treating capacity.

    Unfortunately, today we face the situation when this art form is extinguishing. For the next generation tightrope dancing might become something like a legend, preserved in old people’s memories and in some scientific books only.


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IT'S COOL!!! IT'S VARDAVAR!!!

Imagine you walking in the street in summer heat and suddenly a group of children or teenagers come up to you running and pour pails of water over you...

You are astonished, confused and do not know what to do if you are in Germany, France, Russia or elsewhere. But if you are in Armenia, the only thing to do is just smile and laugh from the heart... because it's VARDAVAR!!!

 

Armenian Summer Festivity Vardavar is the most favourite and most joyful event - ancient tradition of water splashing. Typically celebrated around 14 weeks after Easter, Vardavar’s origins can be traced to pagan times.  It has long history connected to pagan Goddess Astghik, the Goddess of Water, Beauty, Love and Fertility. According to the legend she spread love on earth, walking over roses that turned red from her blood. As a goddess of fertility she was also associated with water. The festivities associated with this religious observance of Astghik were named “Vardavar” because of the fact that Armenians offered her roses as a celebration (“vard” means “rose” in Armenian).

 

Also, they released doves and sprinkled water on each other. Vardavar was celebrated during harvest time. It was an expression of gratitude in return for the goodness of the harvest. The prayers directed to her asked for water for the benefit of fields and fruit orchards and vineyards for the harvest. Animals were also sacrificed.


Vardavar festivities are children’s most expected and favorite summer activity. Starting early morning till late night everyone play, splashing water on each other. Even submissive and quiet brides would throw water on their mothers-in-law! Nobody is offended or angered by this.


In the country-side areas men like to collect wheat in the fields and take to the church for blessing.

 

Women assemble multi-colored bouquets of flowers and throw them to the gardens and yards of their relatives and neighbors. Dances and songs, jokes and plays are part of the Summer Festivity Vardavar.

The festival is very popular among children as it is one day where they can get away with pulling pranks. It is also a means of refreshment on the usually hot and dry summer days of July.

 

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WE CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY OF LOVE TWICE

   Valentine's Day... love, affection, hearts, doves, figures of winged Cupid, valentines...

    A nice holiday, isn't it?  We, Armenians, celebrate this nice holiday twice in February, because we have our "own  St. Valentine" and his name is  St. Sarkis.

    St. Sarkis is one of the most beloved saints among the Armenian nation. Together with his 14 soldiers-companions he was martyred for the sake of Christian faith.

   According to one of the folk stories upon return of their victorious battle Captain St. Sarkis and his 39 soldiers-companions celebrated their victory in the royal palace. When all of them were drunk and went to sleep, the king ordered 40 young women to kill the brave soldiers. 39 of the women obeyed the order and killed the soldiers, whereas one of them seeing the handsome and peaceful face of sleeping Sarkis fell in love with him and instead of killing kissed him. Getting up and seeing what had happened St. Sarkis straddled his white horse and taking the young woman with him smashed the gates of the city, brought up violent snow-storm and left the city. It is because of this folk story that people in love started to consider St. Sarkis their intercessor and protector. St. Sarkis always helps and supports all young people asking his help and support.

    The feast of St. Sarkis  is celebrated not only by means of church rites and prayer, but also folk traditions.

    Wonders are worked by the mediation of St. Sarkis. On the day of the feast young people pray asking the saint to make their prayers audible to God. The day before the feast young people eat salty cookies and don't drink water to encourage dreaming at night.  After eating the salty cookie they eat nothing else and pray waiting for the dream. They believe that St. Sarkis decides their fate, that the person who gives them water to drink in their dreams will become their future spouse. Seeing future bride or bridegroom in the dream is the result of the wonder worked thanks to sincere faith.

    There are many miracles and folk traditions related to the saint. On the night preceding the feast of St. Sarkis the faithful people place a tray full of flour before the door believing that while passing near their door at dawn St. Sarkis will leave his footprint on the flour symbolizing the fulfillment of their dreams.

    People in love present each other cards, flowers or sweets on the occasion of the feast.

 

   I'm sure there are similar holidays and traditions in your culture, too.  Let us know and learn about them...

 


 

 

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Christ is Born and Revealed!


  The celebration of the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ starts on the evening of January 5 as the church day changes at 17:00 p.m., after the evening service. So the celebration of the feast starts in the evening of January 5 and is continued on January 6.

In the evening of January 5 candlelight Divine Liturgy is celebrated in all Armenian churches. It is interesting that candlelight Divine Liturgy is celebrated only twice during the year – on the eve of the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ and on the eve of the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the evening of that day people take to their homes candles lit in the church symbolizing the divine light and the blessing of the Church. Lighting candles symbolizes also the light of Bethlehem star leading the magi from the east to the Baby Jesus.

  People greet each other saying, “Christ is Born and Revealed! Blessed is the Revelation of Christ.”  


On January 6, following the Divine Liturgy, the Armenian Church also offers a special Blessing of the Waters Service to celebrate the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan. The wonder-working water blessed by means of cross and Holy Chrism is distributed to the faithful for spiritual and bodily healing.


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Atam Hatik Or The First Tooth

Hi, friends!

I know the name of my blog didn't tell anything to you, but if you carry on reading you'll get the meaning of it.

I am going to tell you about one of the national customs. I, personally, think, that traditions and customs make our life more colourful  and interesting, giving it additional meaning and sense.

So, Atam Hatik is one of them.

In Armenia, when a baby gets his or her first tooth, parents celebrate the occasion by giving a special party called Atam Hatik (translated into English as a piece of tooth). Closest relatives and friends are invited to share the happiness of the day. The most important ritual of the day is that the baby is set on the table or on the floor surrounded by different items symbolizing different professions; a book - a scholar, a pen - a writer, scissors - a hairdresser, money - a businessman, a ball - a sportsman, some medical stuff - a doctor and so on... Then mother or one of the grannies pours Hatik (the dish of the day made from red beans, peas, barley and wheat topped with colourful candies to be sweet) on the baby's head. This is edible and the baby can basically eat it while it is being poured. There is typically candy all around the table for one's sweet tooth. After pouring Hatik they let the baby reach out and take any of the various items placed in front of him/her. It is believed whatever the child takes will decide what he is going to be when he grows up. It's supposedly where the child finds his first reaction, sense and direction.

Sure, it may seem strange to you, yet it's a nice occasion to get together and share the joy and happiness of the parents.

So, this is how we, Armenians, celebrate the coming of the first tooth...

P.S. to my friend jhon

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Armenian Manuscripts

The modern idea we have of artists as independent creators devoting their entire lives to the creation of works of art was inherited from the Renaissance. In the medieval Christian world of which Armenia was a part, artists as architects were usually anonymous and usually members of the clergy. Manuscript production was carried on exclusively by monks or priests employed in churches or monasteries. The performance of the church service was dependent on liturgical books, foremost of which was the Gospels, and, therefore, there was a constant need for them. Each monastery had its scriptorium where manuscripts were copied, illustrated and bound by a team. There was a division of labor and skills, though it was not uncommon for a scribe to illustrate and bind his own manuscript. Some Armenian kings also supported their own scriptoria, employing clergy trained in the various aspects of manuscript production.

Fortunately, a very large number of Armenian manuscripts are preserved, nearly 30,000, dating from the ninth to the nineteenth centuries, and produced in every region inhabited by Armenians.

Most manuscripts are devoid of painting; however, at least 10,000 are illuminated or decorated in some way and of these some 5,000 to 7,000 contain one or more miniatures.There is really only a single subject for Armenian miniature painting, at least until the late medieval period: The Life of Christ. With few exceptions, all surviving, illustrated Armenian manuscripts dated before 1300 are Gospels.

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The Armenian Apricot

Well, friends, these two fruit blogs really made me want to write a blog of my own. Maybe because i love to eat fruits, and this comes from the fact that I am from Armenia, a country which is really rich in fruits and vegetables. And, of course, as a real Armenian, I'm going to write about APRICOT. We call it "tsiran", its scientific name is Prunus armeniaca (Armenian plum), for it was known in Armenia during ancient times. It has been cultivated in our country for so long, that has become the symbol of nationality. Have you ever seen an Armenian apricot?

It differs from the apricots growing elsewhere in colour; its nether orange nor yellow, its colour is "tsirani", meaning "the colour of an apricote". Armenian kings wore that colour, and now it is one of the three colours of the Armenian national flag. Even duduk, the traditional Armenian musical instrument, now famous all over the world, is made mainly from aged apricot wood and is as well called "tsiranapogh" - apricot tree pipe. Also there is an International Film Festival held in Armenia every year called GOLDEN APRICOT. Sure apricot is placed not only in the centre of Armenian culture, but in national cuisin as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzjMTEsLUOc

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