January 1 is a new calendar year, and the Armenian Church celebrates January 6 as a Christmas holiday. The Catholic Church celebrates this feast on December 25.
At different periods, Armenians had three New Years and they were called Navasard, New Year, and Kaghand. These holidays were celebrated during different months on various occasions - on March 21, August 11, in January.
It is worth mentioning that before Christmas Armenians have a tradition of fasting which begins on December 30 and ends on January 5 in the evening.
Christmas is the birthday of Jesus, and all the Christian nations from all over the world celebrate it. Only Armenians celebrate Christmas along with Water Blessing. The water blessing marks the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River.
Armenians prepare for Christmas with a special care. This is a church feast, but it is full of national elements. In the Christmas morning, the family gathers around the table, everything is too clean in the house, and Armenians are dressed in new clothing.
The main dishes of the Christmas table are fish dishes - boiled, roasted, fish pie, grilled fish and so on. The best addition to fish is the rice with raisins, dried fruit and butter.
According to the tradition, the Christmas table should consist of fish and rice with raisins. The rice symbolizes is humanity, and the raisins are the ones whom God chose to continue his work.
Along with these dishes, wine is also served, and it is the only alcohol drink on the Christmas table. The wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ which he poured to clean us from our sins.
Animal food is excluded in this period (the only exception is fish). Generally, meat is replaced by vegetables. Traditional Armenian dolma is made out of cabbage and 3-4 kinds of grain, with beans, peas and peanuts instead of the meat filling.
The most common type of Christmas sweet dish is the Gata, which is divided into 12 parts as the year has 12 months.
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Gardman Tour, 28.11.2018