WHAT TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS ARE THERE IN ARMENIA?
A review of the traditions and customs of the Caucasian country, Armenia.
FOOD IN DAILY LIFE
The staples are bread and salt. Harissa, a traditional meal, consists of wheat grain and slow-cooked lamb. Armenians everywhere love grilled meats and vegetables. The pomegranate, with its symbolic association with fertility, is the national fruit. Armenia is also a country of vineyards and grapes.
When they speak of friendship, Armenians say that “we have bread and salt among us.” In state protocol, when dignitaries are welcomed, bread and salt are presented.
Non-working day breakfasts are sometimes important gathering events. Khash is prepared in large pots, cattle legs are boiled and served with spices and garlic and consumed with Armenian brandy.
Armenians place great emphasis on hospitality and generosity. Respect for guests is also emphasized.
Christianity is the state religion in Armenia since 301. During the Soviet government , religious expression was not encouraged. The emphasis was on atheism. However, Armenians have continued to attend church, particularly during life crisis events and rites of passage.
Most Armenians adhere to the Armenian Apostolic Church. There are also adherents to Catholic, Evangelical, and Protestant denominations.
The church has been a symbol of the national culture. It has been considered as the home of Armenians and the bearer of Armenian culture.
The Armenian Apostolic Church has two Catholic Seats: All Armenian Catholics in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, and Cilicia, in Antelias, Lebanon . The two venues are organized differently. Each has its own educational system and hierarchy of priests. Among the Armenians there are celibate and married priests.
There are also two patriarchs: one in Istanbul and one in Jerusalem. Women are not ordained priestesses. There is only one female order: the Kalfayian sisters.
DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE
Most Armenians believe in the Christian view of death and the afterlife. The Apostolic Church, unlike some Christian institutions, does not emphasize sin and redemption. In the same way, the notion of purgatory is absent.
Armenians pay special attention to remembering the dead. After each mass, or badarak, there is a memorial service for the dead. The seventh day after death, the fortieth day, and the annual remembrance are the accepted way of respecting the dead. The cemeteries are well cared for.
The communion between the living and the dead is seen in the frequent visits to the graves of loved ones. Food and brandy are served to the dead. The birthdays of dead loved ones are also celebrated.
New Years Eve (or Amanor, Nor Dari, or Gaghant / Kaghand) is a secular holiday. Other secular holidays include: Women’s Day April 7; commemoration of the genocide of the Armenians of 1915 April 24; Independence Day of the first Armenian Republic of 1918, and May 28; Independence Day of the current Republic of Armenia, September 21.
ARTS AND HUMANITIES
SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS
In the Republic of Armenia, following the policies established during the pre-Soviet and Soviet times, the state has been supporting the arts and humanities. In recent years, due to economic difficulties, there has been a trend towards privatization. State support is declining.
In the Diaspora, the arts and humanities depend on local fundraising efforts, Armenian organizations, and the initiative of individuals. In the Republic of Armenia, artists dedicate themselves full time to their respective arts. In the diaspora, however, artists are rarely self-supporting and rarely make a living through their art.
Armenians have a rich history of oral and written literature. Parts of the earliest oral literature were recorded by M. Khorenatsi, a 4th century historian. During the 19th century, under the influence of a European interest in folklore and oral literature, a new movement began that resulted in the compilation of oral epic poems, songs, myths and stories.
Written literature has been divided into five main eras: the golden age of the fifth century, or vosgetar after the adoption of the alphabet; the Middle Ages; the Armenian Renaissance (in the 19th century); the modern literature of Armenia and Constantinople (Istanbul) in the early 20th century; and the contemporary literature of Armenia and the diaspora.
The fifth century has been recognized internationally as a highly productive time. He was also known for his translations of various works, including the Bible.
In fact, the clergy have been the main producer of Armenian literary works. One of the best known early works is Lamentations by Gregory Narekatzi… During medieval times, a tradition of popular literature and poetry gradually emerged.
In the 19th century, the vernacular of Eastern Armenia ( Russian and Iranian ) became the literary language of the East, and the vernacular of Istanbul and Western Armenia ( Ottoman Turkish ) became the basis of the literary revival of the Armenians. who lived in the Ottoman Empire.
Armenian literature has been influenced by European literary styles and movements. It also reflects the tragic history of its people. The genocide of 1915 led to the death of the vast majority of Armenian writers of the time. The period immediately after the genocide was marked by silence.
Eventually a diaspora literature emerged with centers in Paris, Aleppo, and Beirut. In Soviet Armenia, the literary tradition followed the trends of Russia with a recognizable Armenian voice. Literature received the support of the Soviet state. A writers union was established. In the days of glasnost and perestroika, emerging leaders belonged to the writers union.
Historically, Armenian art has been associated with architecture, bas-reliefs, stone engravings, stelae, illuminated manuscripts, and tapestries. Since the Armenian Renaissance during the 19th century, interest in drawing, painting, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, embroidery and lace has intensified.
During the Soviet period , the graphic arts were particularly encouraged. A new brightly colored Armenian style emerged in the painting. In Soviet Armenia there was an interest in landscaping, rustic imagery, a focus on rural life, and ethnographic genre paintings.
A national art gallery houses the works of Sarian, M. Avedissian, Hagopian, Soureniantz, and other artists from the Soviet era. In today’s republic, there are open-air exhibitions of emerging painters, and new private initiatives are taking place.
Armenia has a long tradition of musical art, dating back to prehistoric times, and Armenian musicians played a pivotal role in the modernization of oriental music during the 19th century. Armenian traditional music differs from oriental music by its sobriety.
The Republic of Armenia has so far continued the trend established in the Soviet years . The opera house, theaters and concert halls are the pride of Armenians and have remained highly accessible to the general public.
Armenian folk, classical and religious music, as well as its composers, such as Komitas and A. Khatchadourian, have been known throughout the world. Folk dance groups have also participated in various international festivals.