Armenian Holidays and Days of Memorial
New Year - January 1
New Year is possibly the most expected holiday for the Armenians. The holiday is celebrated beginning from December 31 and lasts till Christmas - January 6, but the New Year decorations and the happy atmosphere last till January 13. Preparations begin with buying presents and decorations for the table and the house. Then it is the time for cooking tasty dishes and traditional food. Wherever an Armenian is, he strives to be at home during the New Year.
Christmas (Surb Tsnund) - January 6
Christmas is celebrated as one of the major religious holiday. The dishes on the Christmas table differ from that of other holidays. Fish, rice with raisin are obligatory for a Christmas table. Red Armenian wine is the main décor of the table. Any type of meat products are not allowed this day.
St. Sargis - Beginning of February
St. Sargis is the Armenian interpretation of St. Valentine, though the latter is also widely celebrated and is very popular among young people. The exact day of St. Sargis depends on the religious holidays preceding it. On the night of the holiday young people eat salty pie and do not drink water till morning, anticipating to see their beloved in their dreams who would give them a glass of water. They believe the person they see in the dream will be their spouse. People say that in most cases the dream comes true.
During St. Sargis couples present each other with sweets and other things in the shape of a heart. Different events are organized for the celebration of the long expected holiday.
Trndez - February 13
Trndez is the only pagan holiday that has survived throughout the Christian era. In the afternoon of the holiday the newly married couples go to church to take the blessed fire to their houses. Then a fire is lit and couples jump over the fire.
On the day of Trndez you can witness people jumping over a fire in the yards and streets. Young people believe that they would find their love after they dare to jump over the fire.
Women’s day - March 8, April 7
Originally March 8 was celebrated as women’s day, but after the Soviet Union collapse the holiday was shifted to April 7, and was renamed as Mother’s Day. Today the holiday is celebrated for an entire month, beginning from March 8 up to April 7. During the whole month women are supposed to be treated with much more special care.
Easter (Zatik) - Beginning of April
It is one of the most expected religious holidays in Christian world. Armenians have their own way of celebrating it. They get prepared for the holiday a month ago by growing sprouts on a plate or a bottle with a thin layer of cotton. On the day of the Easter the plate with the sprout is decorated with colored eggs. Eggs are mainly colored red, which symbolizes the blood of Jesus. Rice with raisin, fish, different herb dishes, and of course Armenian red wine are necessary for this day. Children entertain themselves by fighting with the boiled eggs together.
Genocide Victims Memorial Day (Yeghern) - April 24
People mourn the massacre of one and a half million innocent victims of 1915. On this day people visit the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Monument and put flowers round the eternal fire since early morning. In the evening mainly young people organize walking in streets holding candles. Like a tradition, it always rains every year on April 24.
Vardavar - 14 weeks after the Easter (mid of June)
Vardavar, the most cheerful holiday, is the holiday impatiently expected by children. The holiday has pagan nature and was devoted to the Goddess of love and beauty. However it is celebrated till our days. Everybody takes bottles and pots of water and goes to street to throw water onto each other. Sometimes the water fighting reaches the main roads making all the cars and the people passing by wet.
Day of Independence - September 21
The Day of Independence is a well celebrated holiday. Celebrations begin since early morning and last till midnight. The military parade with the illustration of military appliances is the major ceremony of the holiday. The parade is followed by a concert in the open air of the Republic Square.
Day of Remembrance of Victims of the 1988 Earthquake - December 7
In December 7, 1988, a devastating earthquake entirely destroyed the cities of Gyumri, Spitak and Vanadzor, leaving thousands of people under the ruins. Years have passed but the pain is still in the hearts of the people.