All nations celebrate New Year holidays in their own way, with special traditions, legends and customs. New year in Armenian culture is a symbol of renewal and rethinking of the past. The celebration of the New Year in Armenia still bears some old traditions and is a mixture of new and old.
According to the traditions, the Armenians had three New Year holidays: Amanor (March 21), Navasard (August 11) and the New Year on January 1. Usually, New Year in Armenia is celebrated together with the family at a table full of food.
Speaking about Armenian New Year traditions we should make a huge list.
As the New Year celebration in Armenia starts late at night on December 31, the New Year table must be ready at 12 PM and the whole family must be well dressed in their new clothes.
Before the 12 PM strikes, Armenians listen to the speech of the head of the Armenian Apostolic church – Armenian Katoghikos. Then the president’s turn comes! People pour their glasses with the drinks and waits for the clock to strike 12. Then the celebration starts.
One of the most important thing during the New Year in Armenia is the New Year table. It must be rich and full of different dishes, fruits, salads, sweets and whatnot can be found on the table.
Armenian women compete with each other whose table is going to be the richest and the tastiest! So you will be able to find too many dishes, salads, sweets etc. on one Armenian New Year table.
Visiting friends and relatives is a must in Armenia, so after 12 PM people start this pleasant action. This tradition has its own rule – the circle of visiting each other starts from visiting the most honourable people, and usually, they are your parents. Armenians will surely be offended if you do not visit them during New Year holidays.
While visiting their relatives and friends people usually take with them chocolate, which Armenians used to call “banbanerka” for the hosts of the house. A toy or something like that is prepared with a special care for the kids in the house.
As regards the gifts of their own children and family members, Armenians used to give gifts after 12 PM strikes. Children’s gifts are given in the following way: someone knocks at the door (usually it is their neighbour) and leaves the present in front of the door as if it was Santa who was in a hurry and left the present there.
Armenians used to call Santa Clause in a different way – they call him “Dzmer Pap” which is translated as “Snow grandpa”. Armenian Santa was called also “Kaghand Pap” where Kaghand means New Year, but today nearly no one uses this name.
Visit Armenia during New Year and let’s be a part of Armenian New Year traditions.
Gardman Tour, 13.12.2018