Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand ("Merry Christmas")

Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand

Happy Armenian Christmas!!  

Many of my friends ask why my family celebrates Christmas twice, and the reason is we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, like all other Christians, but we also celebrate Armenian Christmas on January 6th.  

Armenians both in the homeland and throughout the Diaspora traditionally celebrate Christmas on January 6th, as we have for over 1,700 years.  Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as it's official religion in 301 A.D.  During that time all Christians celebrated Christmas on January 6th...at the same time that they celebrated the 'adoration of the magi' = Epiphany.  However, the early Roman church decided to move Christmas to December 25th, a day of a Roman Pagan holiday that the early Roman empire wished to eradicate.  The Armenians had no such Pagan holiday and we still continue to follow our ancient tradition of celebrating all three of the "Christmastime events" (birth, adoration, and baptism) at the same time on January 6th.

For my family, and most other Diasporian families, we celebrate Christmas on both days.  Mainly because the cultural dictations that Christmas is in December is very overwhelming and the spirit of the holidays is hard to ignore.  Most Armenian families do the typical gathering of family and friends, exchanging of gifts, and eating a large meal on December 25th.  Then on January 6th it is more serious and more spiritual or religious.  

Since my family is not a member of the Armenian Church...I was raised Methodist, and we're ethnically diverse as well (Bohemian, and my dad and sisters have German blood too - and I guess I'm half English??), Armenian Christmas for us is mainly about the food!!

My absolute favorite Armenian holiday food is paklava (baklava).  For anyone who has not tried this famous middle eastern pastry, let me just describe it as heaven!  While my family has a "secret" recipe that had been handed down since my great-grandparents traveled to America in 1910, I put a link to a common version often used.

Now I must confess (haha, this blog is my "confessions".......sorry, lame joke!), I'm not really religious at all.  I was brought up in a Christian family, but have since strayed from the faith.  I consider myself a spiritual agnostic, or just undecided.  I do however, love the traditions that come with it ---- no, not just getting presents, chocolate, and eating lots and lots of yummy food (but they are a perk!) --- but the Christmas carols, the meeting with family and friends, the traditions that have passed down from my family for years.  That's what I love.

So Merry Christmas to all (and to all a good night ;o))

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