Armenian Old New Year

Did you know that the Old New Year is still a traditional holiday celebrated on 14th of January according to Julian Calendar.

The celebration starts on 13th January at 12:00. Even though it’s become an informal holiday, armenians still gather and enjoy the beginning of a Year, this year the Republic Square will host annual concert despite the cold weather.

People of Armenia  look forward the magic moments and realizations of dreams for the coming  New Year.

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Armenians have been celebrating 3 New Year Holidays : Kaghand, Navasard, New Year.

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Ancient Armenians  were celebrating New Year on 21st of March : the vernal equinox day and also the birthday of the mythical God Vahangn, in whom believed the pagan Armenians about 10 thousand years ago? The hero of the Holiday /Armenian Santa was Kaghand Papy/ Kagand Grandpa.  The typical food for Kaghand consists of beans, lentils, dry fruit, nuts. The most important from the eatables is “Tary hats” / Year Bread. “Big mamas” of the family put coin inside the bread and the one who get it, according to the tradition, get a lot of fortune for the upcoming year.

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Navsard, which was celebrated in 1th of November is the day when Forefather Hayk won Titanian Bel. This celebration was accompanied by traditional songs and dances, traditional food and collective events.

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And after the 18th century Calendar reform made by Simeon Yerevantsy . Armenians started celebrate The New Year on the 1st of January. many traditions of Kaghand and Navasard are maintained nowadays, some of them are modernized  and changed.

After the Soviet Union New Year holiday got some soviet traditions , changed some traditional staff and become quite original.

Almost all the Armenians do a lot of preparations for it. Some people /especially armenian women/ are busy on cooking, cleaning, decorations, new dresses, some people / esp. men/ busy on buying New Year meals ingredients /meat, dry fruit, drinks/ , some of us make a lists of relatives to visit and many young people just get together and spend good time 😉

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Everybody likes New Years’s dishes, everybody enjoy cooking and testing it wherever they go. Almost all Armenians have dolma, khorovats/ barbeque, qyufta, ishly qyufta  or any other interesting traditional dish with meat, dry fruit and different types of nuts, fruit and traditional sweets like gata, choreg, pakhlava on their festive table.

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And it’s important to have drinks on the table to make good tosts and wishes for the coming year.

Usually The President congratulate everybody for the upcoming year on TV, then the same does the Catholicos on armenian TV and the celebration of Amanor / Nor Tari (New Year) considered to be officially opened.

 

There is some magic in all this activity, enjoy the beginning of the New Year, New Hope and New Beginnings. Spend it with those whom you love and who love you and of course visit Armenia. Believe me you’ll enjoy armenian holidays !

 

Armenia today: Positive perspective about the future of Armenia, from an experience of a foreigner

 

This time, my article would make some of Armenian people feel offended and bad. So, please stop reading it if you start feeling like that. But otherwise, you may notice perspective of a foreigner who thinks more positive towards the future of the country.

It seems that Armenia today has improved in some respects, which gives us a hope to advance the nation, society and the people. I felt that when I visited there in 2014 especially by comparing to my experience of my visit to Armenia in 2009.This time, I will write about why I thought like that from my observation and experience there.

My first visit to Armenia was in 2009. My first thoughts and experience about Armenia was very different from today. I can say that it was more or less negative to the country not only because of its economic situation but also how people acted and thoughts. In 2009, I still remembered that almost all the time when I walked on the street, most of the people who saw me started staring at me and it made me feel very uncomfortable. Also, I could see that almost all the time, there were many guys walking in a group, wearing black shirts and trousers, which was kind of symbol of Armenia to me then.

In addition, it sounded that many people who I communicated with had more conservative mind-set than Armenian people in Armenia today. For example, they did not try to understand what they thought right would be wrong in other societies. It was my impression about Armenians then.

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Yet, in 2014 when I visited there again in October, I really felt that there were many things that had changed since 2009. Probably the most obvious and easy thing to notice was the fashion especially of young Armenian guys. As mentioned, in 2009, in my impression, most of guys including young Armenians were wearing black clothes. However, today, many of them started wearing more colorful clothes like people in Western Europe.

In addition, in terms of mind-set, I could see that many young Armenians had more open mind which lets them listen to what and how foreigners, who have different values and belief, thinks and behave.

In this visit, I had a chance to give a lecture to the students of Leadership School. I was really impressed that the students had more proactive attitude to learn something from foreigners and they were clearly more motivated towards finding something useful for them from me. In 2009, it was more or less that the student were listening to me but still had some doubts and did not really try to elicit as much information as possible from me to utilize it in order to develop their skills and knowledge.

Also, I got impression that more and more young Armenians started to be able to have critical thinking today. Positively, it seems that those young Armenians with critical thinking started to analyze seriously the problems that Armenia has and how they would be able to impact it in positive way to develop the country in the future.

There are still many people saying that Armenia is devastated in terms of politics, economy, society and many other aspects. But, I really believe that the movement and dynamism which I felt from my visit in 2014 will probably change the society in positive way. Of course it is true that the country still is facing a lot of issues but those people who are in generation will possible change Armenia soon.

I hope I will join the movement in some years in the future.

Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator

Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator 1997 – 2001, Yerevan, Armenia. Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Armenian: Սուրբ Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ Եկեղեցի, Surb Grigor Lusavorich Yekeghetsi) is the largest Armenian church in the world and is located in the Kentron District of Yerevan in Armenia. It is adjacent to the General Andranik metro station. It is also considered to be one of the largest religious buildings along with Sameba Cathedral in the South Caucasus. The Cathedral is the symbol of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as a State Religion in Armenia and house for relics of Saint Gregory the Illuminator (Surb Grigor). The Holy Remains of St. Gregory were brought from Naples, Italy. Shortly after the consecration of the Cathedral Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the Cathedral. The cathedral has been constructed by the initiative of catholicos Vazgen I. The construction started on April 7, 1997 with a ground blessing service conducted by catholicos Karekin I. The church complex was designed by the architect Stepan Kurkchyan and the construction was completed in 2001. The huge Cathedral is a complex consisting of three churches: the Cathedral (Main Church) with 1700 seats and the Chapels of St. Tiridat (Tiridates) III the King and of St. Ashkhen the Queen (both with 150 seats). These two royal figures were the crucial helpers of St. Gregory in converting Armenia to Christianity. The belfry and the court are located at the entrance of the Cathedral. The halls for both the receptions and church-related activities are provided on the lower floor of the Main Church. The Main Church of the complex was built by the donation of AGBU founder Alek Manoukian, along with his wife Mary, and their son and daughter Richard and Louise Simon-Manoukian. On the other hand, the construction of the two chapels of the complex was completed by the donation of Nazar and Artemis Nazarian and Kevork and Linda Kevorkian, while the belfry erected by the donation of Eduardo Eurnekian.

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Steve jobs with Bill Gates 1991

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“Steve jobs in his Palo Alto home with Bill Gates. 1991. Sitting upon what appears to be an Armenian made rug from Chahar Mahal region also known as Bakhtiari. The design of this rug with its geometric symbolic elements in panels were mostly woven by Armenians who were mostly concentrated in about 7 different villages of Chahar Mahal region.” – Master Weaver, Hratch Kozibeyokian. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was raised in the family of an Armenian mother and an American father. It is said that Steve Jobs spoke Armenian fluently, however I could not find a reliable source to confirm that he did. Jobs’ adoptive mother Claire Hagopian played a very big role in bringing up the genius, Jobs had never been keen to speak about his biological parents. Jobs was born in San Francisco and was adopted by the family of Paul and Clara Jobs (née Hagopian) of Mountain View, California. Paul and Clara later adopted a daughter, Patti. Clara Hagopian was born in New Jersey, where her parents ended up after fleeing Armenia from the Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. When she was still a little girl her parents decided to move to the Mission District in San Francisco. Jobs’ biological parents – Abdulfattah John Jandali, a Muslim Syrian immigrant to the U.S from Homs, who later became a political science professor, and Joanne Schieble (later Simpson), an American graduate student who went on to become a speech language pathologist – eventually married. Together, they gave birth to and raised Jobs’ biological sister, novelist Mona Simpson. Jobs experimented with different pursuits before starting Apple Computers with Stephen Wozniak in the Jobs’ family garage. Apple’s revolutionary products, which include the iPod, iPhone and iPad, are now seen as dictating the evolution of modern technology.

 

SOURCES: Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs the biography. ISBN 1451648537, USA: Simon & Schuster;  instagram.com/historyofarmenia.