Armenian Easter is the most beloved Christian holiday in Armenia and among the diaspora. It is full of fun and interesting traditions, food, games, etc. In short, it is one of the coolest, most colorful holidays.
To capture the true essence of Armenian Easter, we have to say the most overused sentence about Armenia.
It is the oldest Christian country in the world. Armenians paid a huge price for not converting to Islam and preserving Christianity in their very complex region.
Easter has the same significance for all Christian countries. It’s the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Armenian Apostolic Church is not an exception to this. But, not being identical to the Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian churches, the Armenian Apostolic Church has some of its own Easter traditions.
Attending church mass, playing with eggs, eating bread and every other delicious Easter biscuits make Armenian Easter fun even if you’re not religious.
Armenian Easter Can’t Be Compared to Any Other Holiday
A bit of general information on Armenian Easter:
Armenian Easter is so popular that some like it even more than Christmas. The Armenian term for Easter is “zatik” (Զատիկ), which means ladybug.
Although zatik is used among people, the Christian term for this holiday is “Harutyan ton” (Հարության տոն), which means “The holiday of resurrection”.
Try to remember this and greet your Armenian friends with this phrase. You’ll see how pleasantly surprised they’ll be.
How Does Armenian Easter Take Over Other Holidays?
In Armenia and many other Orthodox countries, Christmas is celebrated on January 6 or 7, which means New Year celebration comes first, unlike Catholic holidays. So, all the energy and festive preparations are spent on New Year and Christmas is welcomed nicely, but quietly.
Unlike Christmas, Armenian Easter is one of a kind. It is the first biggest holiday in spring. Easter is inspired by spring’s lively spirit, which is why it’s more colorful and has fun traditions.
For Armenians Easter is also the only happy holiday in April. May, for example, is known as the month of victories and holidays. But April is known as the opposite. The Armenian Genocide memorial is on April, The 4-day April war memorial is also April.
But, as people say, dark is always followed by light. April is followed by victorious May. Even during the mourning month of April, Easter becomes the most joyful day of the month.
Traditions and Food of Armenian Easter
Armenian Easter has its own traditions and dishes. Obviously, people can prepare whatever they like, but there are certain dishes that are always present.
We can’t say Armenians eat rice as often and as delicately as people in Asia, but during Easter, it is a must. Armenians cook regular rice and mix some sweet dried fruits with it. They cook dried fruits in butter beforehand and mix it with the rice. The combination seems odd to some, but it’s worth trying.
There are a million types of greens in Armenia and it seems that all of them are present on the Easter table. Some greens like coriander, tarragon, green onions are served raw. But there are some greens that should be boiled or cooked with eggs. All these delicious greens are accompanied by Armenian lavash.
Fish is also one of the most symbolic and typical Armenian Easter dishes. There is no specific recipe to follow. Some like to boil it and serve with potatoes, others cook it in the oven, some prepare grilled fish.
Armenian Easter Bread
Besides lavash, there is another type of bread that is popular during Easter: chorek.
It’s essentially a sweet Brioche Bun. Chorek is a rather sweet puff bread. It’s not an everyday dish but is made once a year during Armenian Easter.
How to Make Armenian Easter Fun with Eggs?
There is the interesting tradition of cracking eggs during Easter. Each person sitting at the table takes one egg, then chooses a player to crack each other’s eggs. The one whose egg cracks loses.
Luckily, cracking eggs is just a game and not a sign of bad luck.
Usually, on the Monday following Easter, Armenian students take a few eggs with them to school and play the same game with their classmates. The one who wins takes both of eggs and has them for lunch.
Symbolic Grass Sprouts of Armenian Easter
Prior to Easter, Armenian families have the tradition of growing grass for Armenian Easter. The symbolic grass is used to place dyed eggs in it.
Fun and Cool Ways of Dying and Decorating Eggs for Armenian Easter
The tradition of dying eggs is not typical only of Armenian Easter, many other Christian countries do the same. Here is how Armenians do it.
As we live in a modern world, new recipes and methods make everything easy for us. But it has not always been like that.
Many years ago, when there was no food dye, Armenians used to dye eggs with red onion shells. All you need to do is to put a lot of red onion shells in boiling water, then carefully place the eggs in the bowl and cook it. The result will be nicely cooked red eggs.
This dying method is still alive today. The majority of Armenians dye Easter eggs just like this, even though they may also have eggs dyed with food coloring. The more colorful the table, the better.
Church Liturgy and Other Religious Ceremonies for Armenian Easter
On Armenian Easter, special Easter liturgy is held in Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin as well as in other churches.
In the evening of Saturday prior to Easter, the holy light is fired which people take home. The main aim is to get a candle of the holy light home to bring Easter blessings to the household.
This also takes an interesting turn. Many people, especially young people, take candles from the church, walk to the Republic Square and place the candles on the ground. Those candles stay there until they are melted. As it is done after the sunset, the dark sky and burning candles create a very beautiful view.
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