Armenian holidays and festivals will leave anyone surprised and amazed with their unique traditions. Don’t miss your chance to participate in all of these events. We assure you will have unforgettable memories.
Armenians were celebrating various national holidays and festivals since pre-Christian times. The official calendar of Armenia was affirmed after the declaration of Independence.
The most thrilling thing is that not only local people, but also tourists and visitors are very delighted to take part in events. So, we can surly state that Armenian holidays and national festivals are one of the most reliable testimonies of rich Armenian culture and creativity.
Discover some of the most interesting and fun Armenian holidays and festival in this article.
Armenian holidays and festivals #1 | Musaler Harisa Fest
On the second Sunday of September
Situated in the region of Armavir, this Armenian village of Musaler is the symbol of the strong Armenian will and firm spirit. There is a very breathtaking and amazing story about this village.
In 1915, when Armenians were forced to leave their homeland by the Turkish government, the population of Musaler ignored that announcement and decided to resist. They climbed the mountain to organize a self-defense. This is a very powerful story of 4300 inhabitants of Musa Ler, who passed through quite tough times for 53 days. They went through starvation and freezing cold.
The most overwhelming thing is that they were dancing to the national Armenian music in order not to lose the courage and conscious under such difficult conditions.
Luckily, French and British naval ships evacuated most of the people from Musa Ler after some period of time. This historical event has even inspired Franz Werfel, who wrote a novel dedicated to this page of the Armenian history – “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh“.
Now on the anniversary of this event, the descendants pay tribute to this heroic stance and celebrate the huge victory every year on the third Sunday of September. That is called Musaler Fest (also known as Harisa Festival).
People are up all night, preparing one of the most beloved and delicious national dishes, Harisa. It is made from wheat and red meat. the cooking process is accompanied with the beating of drums.
This holiday is one of the most interesting and entertaining ones. Musalerians are gathering around the fire, singing traditional songs, beating the drums and dance. So, it’s just impossible to stay apart from this fun and spend a great time.
Armenian holidays and festivals #2 | Palm Sunday
On the 6th week of Lent
One of the brightest Christian holidays in Armenia is Palm Sunday. It symbolizes the blossoming of nature. In Armenian it sounds like “Tsakhkazard“. It is translated into English as “decorated with flowers”.
This national holiday is organized in memory of Christ’s triumphal entry to Jerusalem and is celebrated one week before Easter. By the way, right from this day starts the Holy Week. All Armenian churches are decorated with willow branches on this day.
Palm and olive branches symbolize glory, peace and wisdom. People like to go to church for a blessing in the morning and participate in the divine worship. According to tradition, people buy consecrated branches that bring peace, grace, fertility and abundance into the house.
Armenian holidays and festivals #3 | Yerevan City Day
Yerevan City Day, aka Erebuni-Yerevan, is one of the most beloved and celebrated national holidays not only for the residents and visitors of Yerevan, but also for all Armenians around the world.
It’s not surprising as it is the birthday of the capital city of Armenia. This day was celebrated for the first time by residents in 1968, on 2750th anniversary of the establishment of Erebuni Castle, that dates back to 782 BC.
The tradition of celebrating this national holiday was terminated for some period but it was renowned in 1998. Since that, the day of Erebuni-Yerevan is one of the most anticipated days on Armenian calendar and is celebrated vividly and brightly.
Festive events, theatrical performances, games, sport competitions, amusements in parks, performances, exhibitions, concerts and a fabulous salute: all these and even more are held around the city where not only locals but also guests and tourists of the city can enjoy.
The colorful traditions and customs of Armenian folklore is everywhere.
Armenian holidays and festivals #4 | National Holiday of Wine
It may be surprising for you, but in fact the historical land of Armenia is known as the cradle of wine-making, the development of which goes back to biblical times.
It has a history of over 6000 years. We can easily state that wine-making is elevated to a cult in Armenia. Moreover, Armenians jokingly say that wine is a sacred drink that takes second place after mother’s milk.
The celebration of wine is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and fun holidays for everyone in Armenia. During all these festive events, you will taste varieties of wine that you just can’t imagine: red, white, sparkling, demi-doux, sweet, rough, dry, dessert, table wines and many others.
These events are organized with even greater pomp in the centers of wine-making industry, that is to say in Armenian villages.
Armenian holidays and festivals #5 | Barekendan
One of the oldest Armenian traditional festivals is Barekendan. This word derives from two roots: “bari”, which means good or kind and “kendan” or “kendani”, which means living or alive.
As all Armenian holidays and festivals, this one has its own sacrament and symbol as well. Moreover, besides the festive celebrations it has spiritual counsel.
The Great Lent begins the day after Barekendan. It’s kind of an Armenian Halloween, the revived tradition to commemorate the human bliss. This national festival is celebrated with cheerful events staged in different squares of Yerevan.
In particular, Barekendan is an event in which traditional norms and regulations are reversed and rejected. This holiday is transformed into a masquerade, as people wear masks, costumes and participate in games and performances.
In short, it presents a day of revelry, games and joy.
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