Armenian symbols are an inseparable part of the Armenian identity. Like all nations in the world, Armenians also have their own symbols: the symbol of eternity, Mt. Ararat and many more. In this article, we’ll present you main Armenian symbols, originated from antiquity.
Just like everywhere else, in Armenia, there are also people who are very superstitious. Some just believe in things that they can’t even explain. Some others believe that there are certain objects and symbols that have energy and can do good, or bad to us.
But, for the vast majority, symbols don’t have a superstitious meaning, they are rather associations to some events, or represent something that can really be called Armenian. You may come across some of those symbols in everyday life as people have jewelry, tattoos with those symbols, etc.
Armenian Symbols #1: Arevakhach or Armenian Eternity Sign
The symbol of eternity, Arevakhach, is considered to be the most well-known and the most ancient among other Armenian symbols.
The word “Arevakhach” translated from Armenian means sun-cross and it can be found in every corner of the world where Armenians used to live before and where they live now.
Eternity sign symbolizes the concept of everlasting, celestial life and this meaning of the sign has not been changed over the time.
There are two types of the Armenian eternity sign: the right-facing and left-facing one.
Both types were included in Unicode version 7.0 when it was released in June of 2014. Usually, the sign of eternity has eight wings, originating from the central part of the Armenian symbol.
An ancient Armenian eternity symbol was found in Armenia, in old vessels, dating back to the Bronze Age. In the medieval Armenian culture, these Armenian symbols were used in different cultural aspects.
Since the 5th century, it has appeared on Armenian steles. Later, eternity symbol became part of khachkar (cross-stone) symbolism.
This symbol also remained on the walls of Ani, which is the most famous medieval capital of Armenia. The eternity sign or Arevakhach can be seen in different places and it also has many variations, which depend on the meaning it carries.
This symbol is very popular among Armenians because it can be seen everywhere: from ancient church carvings to modern-day emblems, it’s a logo of many Armenian companies.
Armenians consider the symbol of eternity a part of their national spiritual symbolism. Eternity symbol has become one of the main characteristic features of the Armenian monasteries, temples and churches, as well as ancient tombs and cross-stones.
Armenian Symbols #2: Mt. Ararat
By saying Armenia or Armenians, even non-Armenians first of all remember Mt. Ararat. Mt. Ararat or Masis is one of the most recognized Armenian symbols.
Armenians call this mountain “holy” which is associated with the legend of Noah’s arch. Armenians believe that the Arch of Noah has landed on the peak of Mt. Ararat after the great flood.
It is hard to find any Armenian who would consider Ararat just a mountain. It’s more than simply a mountain for Armenians. It’s a part of the national identity and the witness of the Armenian history.
Mt. Ararat is Armenia’s visit card and also, the heart of the historical Greater Armenia. You can find Ararat everywhere in the Armenians’ life, for example in male names, paintings, literature and political life.
Armenian people like this symbol because it also symbolizes their country and the nation itself, the loss of a historical motherland, the Armenian Genocide, once powerful Greater Armenia and, simply, because they consider themselves “people of Mt. Ararat”.
Armenian Symbols #3: Alphabet
The Armenian alphabet is another symbol of the country, probably the most valuable one among other Armenian symbols in terms of its historical significance.
Armenian alphabet was created by Mesrop Mashtots in 405, more than 1600 years ago. The Armenian alphabet (“aybuben” in Armenian) consists of 39 letters, but it originally included 36 letters.
What meaning does the Armenian alphabet have for the Armenians?
The Armenian alphabet isn’t just symbols or letters for them. It’s one of the cornerstones of the Armenian identity and a reflection of the peoples’ value system.
Everything can be understood about Armenians and their “aybuben” by only one phrase.
It was translated from Solomon’s Book of Proverbs and became the first sentence, written down and translated into Armenian by Mashtots:
Armenian Symbols #4: The Armenian Flag
One of the Armenian symbols is the state flag of the Republic of Armenia. It is mostly known as “Eraguyn” or three-color simply because it has three colors in stripes of the same width: red, blue and orange (or “tsiranaguyn” in Armenian, meaning “the color of apricot” since it’s also among Armenian symbols).
The red color symbolizes the Christian religion, the never-ending struggle of Armenians nation for survival, Armenian land and recently gained freedom and independence.
The blue color symbolizes the will of the people of Armenia to live beneath peaceful skies. The orange color is the symbol of the creative talent and hard-working nature of the Armenians.
Although the law on the Armenian State Flag was adopted in 1990, after the collapse of Soviet Union, the “Eraguyn” was firstly used as a national flag in 1918, when the first Republic of Armenia was established.
The people of Armenia and Armenians all around the world love and feel proud of this symbol, as it became a symbol of the restoration of the Armenian statehood that has been lost for centuries.
Armenian Symbols #5: Coat of Arms
Another symbol of Armenia is the state symbol of the Republic of Armenia, the Coat of Arms. It consists of a dragon and an eagle. The dragon and eagle were particularly chosen, as they have been main symbols of ancient Armenian kingdoms for centuries.
The Coat of Arms of Armenia is very symbolic, since it includes inseparable parts of Armenian history. Although the law about it was adopted in 1992, it was used during the period of the First Armenian Republic (1918-1920).
This symbol consists of an eagle and lion, holding onto a shield. The shield is also divided into five parts. The central part of the symbol displays Noah’s Ark, landed on top of Mt. Ararat, and within the surrounding parts, there are symbols of ancient Armenian dynasties.
Below the shield, you can see five elements resting: a sword (symbolizing power and strength), a broken chain (for independence), wheat (expression of the Armenians’ hard working nature), a feather (for intellectual and cultural heritage) and a ribbon (symbolizing the flag).
Armenian Symbols #6: Khachkar (Cross-Stone)
The Armenian cross-stone or khachqar is an outdoor monument crafted by stone. The most important part of these craved stones is the cross located in the central part of the stone itself. We often see khachkars with additional motifs, such as rosettes, interlaces and botanical motifs.
The first known khachkars originated in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. They are expressing the faith among people. Khachkars are considered to be a way to directly connect with God.
The development stages of the Armenian culture can be seen by unique khachkars of different historical periods. They are among the most popular and characteristic Armenian symbols. This cross-stones include the symbolism of the savior cross, the symbol of eternity and are the most expressive examples of material cultural values.
Now, it’s been more than thousand years that khachkar is considered an amazing cultural phenomenon, even in the contemporary world culture. Khachkars can be found in all places where Armenians have lived and live.
Armenian Symbols #7: Apricot
The apricot (in Armenian, “tsiran”) is another Armenian symbol which is a very tasty one. Even the botanical name of the apricot is Prunus Armeniaca.
Armenians like this symbol because it also has the meaning of national identity and victory. The most respected and beloved Armenian musical instrument, duduk, is made from an apricot tree.
Today, there are many festivals and events organized that are dedicated to apricot. The most famous one is the “Apricot festival”. It is celebrated in July. The dated is not chosen randomly, this is usually apricot harvest time in Armenia.
In the middle ages, Armenian kings wore “tsirani”, apricot-colored ornaments, during the most important ceremonial events. Even nowadays, one of the Armenian national flag colors is “tsiranaguyn”, the color of the apricot.
Armenian Symbols #8: Pomegranate
Pomegranate is one of the tastiest Armenian symbols. Today, you can see this fruit symbol in every sphere of the Armenians’ life.
According to the Armenian mythology, the pomegranate symbolizes wealth, happiness, luck, marriage and success. Pomegranate, like grape, was one of the most popular ornaments on stone carvings and historical Armenian manuscripts.
Armenian people call pomegranate a fruit of life and believe that mature pomegranate has 365 seeds, one for each day of the year.
During your visit to Armenia, you can easily find and tasty pomegranates everywhere. This symbolic fruit is sold in almost every shop. You can also buy a souvenir in a pomegranate form.
This fruit has been an inspiration for the Armenian artists for all times. The famous Armenian film-maker, Sergei Parajanov, named his iconic film “The Color of Pomegranate”. We also see this fruit as a symbol of life in the painting “Under Pomegranate Tree” by one of the most celebrated Armenian artists of all time, Martiros Saryan.
Armenian Symbols #9: Khaz
It’s important to mention that Armenians have two alphabets: “aybuben”, the Armenian letters alphabet, and “khaz”, the Armenian notations alphabet. Just like the alphabet is important in the Armenian language, so are “khaz”-s in the Armenian traditional music.
Armenian musical art is among the most ancient ones in the world music history. The creation of “khaz” Armenian symbols in the 8-9th centuries became a new achievement. Khaz symbols have served in the Armenian musical art until the 19th century.
Armenian people highly estimate the role of khaz symbols, because due to them, the ancient musical heritage of the nation survived.
Today, you can find these Armenian symbols in more than 2000 manuscripts.
Armenian Symbols #10: Forget-me-not flower
The flower “forget-me-not” was chosen as the official logo for the Genocide centennial.
This symbol was adopted not only as an “eternal” symbol, but it also became part of the new phase of the Armenian nation’s life. The “Forget-me-not” has become a symbol of the nation’s revival.
The separate features of the flower have their symbolism. It includes 12 stone slabs, that are located in Swallow Fortress (“Tsitsernakaberd” in Armenian).
Those slabs represent 12 Armenian capitals in the history.
The flower has five petals, which symbolize five continents, because after the genocide, Armenians had to flee their country and find shelter in every corner of the world, in every continent. This is also the origin of the huge Armenian diaspora.
This symbol can usually be seen with the motto “We remember and demand”.
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