Hadjin. The Surp Hagop Monastery (Source: Bibliothèque Orientale-USJ)

Hadjin - Festivals

Author: Varty Keshishian, 28/01/2014 (Last modified: 28/01/2014)- Translator: Hrant Gadarigian

The rich variety of holidays celebrated by the Armenians of Hadjin truly encapsulates the centuries’ old tradition of holiday making that evolved in the Armenian Highlands, with all its magnificence and splendor.

While the religious and folkloric holiday practice of Hadjin mainly followed the traditional Armenian calendar, it was marked with several peculiarities. These were evidenced both in church rituals underscoring the particular meaning of a given holiday and unique aspects of popular holiday making. Naturally, as elsewhere, holidays in Hadjin underwent changes over time, oftentimes due to external influences, local exigencies, and, more frequently, as a result of lifestyle demands. Nevertheless, we can state that Hadjin Armenians preserved the original spirit and meaning of the holiday tradition almost intact from one generation to the next. It only takes a quick glance at the Hadjin holiday calendar to assert that these Armenians were able to maintain their national identity by the unique way they traditionally honored the holidays and the rituals involved.

We should count ourselves lucky that many writers of the history of Hadjin have considered the role and significance of holidays and holiday making to be important, and thus have tried to save the holiday calendar from being forgotten. Consequently, they have also saved many popular customs and rituals associated with holiday celebrations. Here, we present our readers with a selection of how Armenians in Hadjin generally celebrated various holidays.

A scene from Hadjin
A scene from Hadjin (Source: Alfred Boissier, En Cappadoce, notes de voyage, Genève, 1897)

New Years (Gaghendes/Gaghant)

Armenians of Hadjin would gather round the holiday table to welcome in the New Year. It was an occasion for merrymaking, singing and dancing. Singing and dancing, and getting people to join in, were such an integral part of the holiday season, that if someone didn’t know how to dance, the others would start to poke fun at him or her.

In local dialect:

Maneh, maneh, bakayo,
Hadji dogho, yel khagho,
-Vaydik chounim, inch khaghom?
Slleh koye masghayo.
[1]

Translation:

Spin, spin, kiss,
Hadji boy, and dance,
-I have no pants, what shall I dance?
Sulleh sister [local name], make him an object of ridicule

Gaghant was the most loved and longed-for day for young boys, for it arrived with gifts, sweets and happy games to play. On New Year’s Eve, boys would go from house to house and lower a bag down the chimneys with a rope, demanding presents. They would then enter the homes and sing:

In Hadjin dialect:

Gaghundes, dundes, dundes,
Vongn ouni eygou dundes,
Ikichmeyis eygou nougis,
Hovni koudis, gakovn archis.
[2]

Translation:

Christmas, housekeeper, housekeeper,
The monastery has two housekeepers,
I will eat the two jars of my mother-in-law’s chicken,
With the partridge in front of me.

The greetings and songs of boys heralding the holiday are frequently simple and childish in content. However, they embrace traits of the Hadjin village dialect.

Christmas (Surp Dznunt)

Archbishop Nerses Tanielian, the prelate of Hadjin (born 1868, murdered 1915)
Archbishop Nerses Tanielian, the prelate of Hadjin (born 1868, murdered 1915)

Christmas was one of the most beloved and honored of holidays for Hadjin Armenians, and thus demanded a comparable splendid celebration. According to ancient tradition, on Christmas Eve (for the Djrakalouyts Liturgy – lighting of the lamps service) Hadjin Armenians would visit the St. Hagop Monastery located at the foot of a mountain at the western part of the town. A unique hustle and bustle reigned within the perimeters of the monastery – merrymaking and good spirits. The entrancing melodies of Christmas songs enveloped the monastery. [3]

After midnight, a solitary chime from the monastery bell would invite the pilgrims to the great mystery of the night – to glorify the birth of Jesus with prayer and song. St. Hagop’s silver-haired abbot had already started the liturgy. The church is full of pilgrims, and the vestibule, with boys and girls attired in colorful vestments. Here are the singers with the most melodious voices. [4]

Now comes the most solemn moment of the holy liturgy. Twelve shepherds wearing tunics (shabig), and holding their shepherd’s pipe, proceed to the altar in pairs and sing the nativity hymn “Khorhourt medz yev skanchelee” (Great and wondrous mystery…). The sweet bleating of their sheep outside mixed with this magnificent melody. [5] In its pastoral simplicity, this scene depicting the Nativity possesses great significance, and it seems that the multitude of pilgrims is taking part in glorifying the birth of baby Jesus. This event, binding the church ritual and popular ceremony, was a tradition that evolved from due to the rich inner spiritual world and vivid imagination of the Hadjin people.

Archbishop Nerses Tanielian (born 1868, murdered 1915) truly described in beautiful detail what he saw one Christmas Eve in Hadjin:

“It seemed to me that I was actually close to the cave where the infant Jesus was born, where the invisible heavenly spirits, along with the shepherds, were singing of the great mystery of the birth of God’s son.” [6]

Christmas was a holiday especially enjoyed by young boys. After midnight, the boys would carry oil-paper lamps and go from house to house singing songs of Avedis (good tidings). When the singing was done, they’d shout “Ya dvek”. Every household, according to its ability, would give gifts and send the singers on their way. These would include djudju (sweet bread), walnuts and sweets, and sometimes metalik (a metal coin of tiny value). This scene would continue until late at night. [7]

Clever boys would also lower down bags from house rooftops in the hope of getting presents. Housewives would usually fill the bags with goodies like ghrmo (cracked wheat and syrup dessert), djkhdog (fruit paste), raisins or walnuts, and a metalik coin. Receiving their gifts, the boys would sing:

Armenian transliteration:

Aysor don e dznntyan, avedis,
Dyarn mero yev hadnoutyan, avedis,
Aysor arev artaroutyan, avedis,
Yerevtsav i mech martgan, avedis.
[8]

Translation:

Today is the holiday of Christmas, avedis,
Of our Lord and His revelation, avedis,
Today sun of justice, avedis,
Appeared amongst man, avedis

In Turkish:

Bugün Krisdos Pırgiç doğdu avedis
Bütün dünya şad olundu avedis
Melekler gökten indi avedis
Park i partsunıs ondan doğdu avedis
Gökten bir büyük kuş indi avedis
Kanadı yok tüysüz nesiz avedis
Meryem ana gömlek biçer avedis
Yakası yok kolsuz nesiz avedis
Aleluya aleluya avedis
Urakh leruk Krisdos doğdu avedis. [9]

Translation:

Today Christ the Savior is born, avedis
The whole world rejoiced, avedis
Angels descended from heaven, avedis
Glory unto the highest, He was born from there, avedis
A great bird descended from heaven the sky, avedis
It has no wings or feathers, avedis
Mariam, mother of God, knits a shirt, avedis
It has no collar or sleeves, avedis
Alleluia, alleluia, avedis  
Be of joy, Christ is born, avedis.

This same avedis (announcement of good tidings) is a Turkish rendition of a “Dagh Dznntyan” (Christmas Carol) that the medieval poet Krikor Naregatsi (952-1003) dedicated to the Christmas holiday. It was sung in Armenian and mixed Armenian-Turkish versions in Hadjin.

Permission to proclaim the glad tidings of Christmas was reserved to the church warden who, with staff in hand and a bag hung from his neck, would go singing the praises of the birth of Jesus from house to house while collecting gifts along the way. [10]

Of note is the fact that in Hadjin, the holiday marking the meaning of Christ’s birth was strongly linked by custom to the Armenian New Year; January 6. This is evidenced by that day’s overall rituals. The groups of boys walking the streets, the songs of glad tidings, the gaghendiel (giving of gifts), and the sumptuous holiday tables – all of these are components of popular holiday celebration.

A page of the “Evangelium mit Parallelen” (Աւետարան Համաբարառ), 1450

A page of the “Evangelium mit Parallelen” (Աւետարան Համաբարառ), 1450 (Source: Staatsbibliothek, Berlin)

Churorhnek, or the "Blessing of Water"

The holiday celebrating the mystery of Christ’s baptism, which Armenians have called Churorhnek, or the "Blessing of Water", is observed on January 6, Christmas. On that day, Myuron (Holy Chrism or blessed water) is poured into the water and blessed with a cross. This major Armenian feast day was commemorated in Hadjin with great pomp and contained noteworthy episodes of popular celebration.

In his memoirs Hadjin native Azaria Babhekian recounts that on Christmas Armenian churches would be filled with men and women faithful fervently participating in church rituals. [11] After the Christmas liturgy, the festive blessing of the water ceremony would take place, according to ancient tradition, by a river bank. Standing in as the godfather of the cross during the ceremony was considered a high honor. The faithful would also make contributions to the church on this occasion. Generally, the children of families making the greatest contributions would become godfathers of the cross. Wearing church tunics they would carry the crosses to be thrown into the water during the ceremony. [12]

At the end of the liturgy, the faithful of the three churches of Hadjin (St. Asdvadzadzin, St Kevork and St. Toros) and the ranks of the clergy (the bishop, priests, deacons and monks), form a huge procession and head off to a predetermined location (like the neighborhoods of Chatakh, Kurded, Tagharnots or Krgevoun) while singing hymns and songs of Avedis. [13]

At the river and in the presence of the multitudes, the Holy Father would pour a few drops of the Myuron into the water. After a few prayers and hymns, the crosses with be thrown into the river. Some boys would immediately dive into the water to retrieve the sunken crosses, accompanied by the applause and shouts of encouragement of onlookers. [14] The faithful would fill their vessels with the blessed water to take home. In bygone days, according to sources, the people would engage in holiday merry-making after church services. The Churorhnek ritual contains elements of water worship that have survived since pre-Christian times.

After the ritual services, families would gather around the holiday table decked out with mouthwatering food, deserts and fruit, both dried and fresh. Various baked goods and oil breads would be especially prepared according to tradition. An old tradition also saw people going from house to house offering Christmas greetings. [15]

Dyarnentarach

The town of Hadjin (Source: www.hadjin.com)
The town of Hadjin (Source: www.hadjin.com)

On February 14 each year, the Armenian Church celebrates Dyarnentarach, literally "the bringing forward of the Lord." The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord to the Temple is always 40 days after Armenian Christmas. Other names for the feast include Derendas (possibly a contraction of Dyarnentarach).

According to church tradition, when Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple, Mary was seen by Simeon, an elderly and devoutly religious Jew who had prayed to God to keep him alive so he would see the Savior promised to mankind. Thus derives the name, “the bringing forward of the Lord”. [16]

In Hadjin, as everywhere, celebrations start on the evening of the previous day, February 13. At church services, the faithful hold a single candle. The original folk celebration of Dyarnentarach has deeper roots that are connected with the cleansing power of fire and the beliefs that developed around it. The tradition of lighting a bonfire, symbolizing the awakening of nature and the coming of spring, derives from this. There was the belief that the Dyarnentarach fire would warm the air and that winter would gradually recede. [17]

Hadjin Armenians also called this holiday Shved. It signifies Dyarnentarach which is celebrated in February (shuod, shvod – from the Persian šubāt for February). According to ancient beliefs, February was the month when demons/devils were freed. Consequently, shvod also signifies a kind of demon, or evil spirit, which inhabits various corners in the home. Traditionally, in order to banish such spirits, people would light a bonfire. [18]

In the morning, families would build bonfire piles on their roofs that they would set alight after returning from church. Usually, people would bring back candles lit at the church after evening psalms, using the flame to light candles and lamps in the houses and streets. [19] The candles were also used to set the bonfires alight, and it seems that all the roofs were burning. The fuel of the day was also important, consisting of dried grass, straw reeds and dried stalks of squash. [20] People believed that the Dyarnentarach fire brought prosperity and blessings. Many housewives kept lamps lit by that fire going for many months. [21]

Paregentan (Good/convivial living)

Paregentan is one of the most happy and beloved holidays for Armenians. It lasts for a week or ten days and follows St. Sarkis Day and ends with the beginning of Lent. Descriptions of Paregentan (Paygindonk – in the local dialect) in Hadjin show that it was one of the most popular and joyful of all the holidays. Moreover, the games, dances, roof top contests and overall merry-making that comprise the core of the celebration, present direct parallels with the traditional Armenian Paregentan. It was truly a week of games and amusement that the Armenians of Hadjin celebrated with a common enthusiasm. [22] It is worthy to note that the main notion of the holiday results in the temporary, or more correctly symbolic, change of daily relations and values. Temperance is substituted with decadence, obedience with disobedience, restraint with self-abandonment and freedom, work with idleness, etc. [23]

For example, young and old together would make jokes and play amusing games, boys and girls would freely meet, and young wives and girls would, in the presence of family elders and the men folk, energetically join in the festivities. Such behavior was not only unacceptable in Hadjin daily life at the time, but also contradicted dominant traditional values. However, the entire holiday procedure turned relations in social life and within the family upside down.

Common games, song and dance, were an inseparable part of Paregentan, infusing the holiday with greater exuberance. “For a whole week Hadjin was replete with a boyish and childish spirit of abandon,” writes an eyewitness. “Old men, women, wives, and boys and girls, would play games atop house roofs in groups, while people below would watch with delight.” [24] Games would be played in the courtyards and on roofs, and would continue until late at night. Boys would jump from roof to roof freely and amuse families. Games widely known were eshi buldu, kochkocha, touin, chotourum eshek, alayin, medig and diganog. [25] We can assume that the above were common games enjoyed on the holiday throughout many Armenian-populated regions in general, with variations of name and manner.

Let us now take a look at the foods that played such an important part of the holiday. All the preserves stored in the cellars for winter would be taken out before the holiday. Meals of meat and oil would be prepared, in addition to various sweets and desserts. [26] Also, each family, according to ability, would slaughter an animal. Generally speaking, holiday table fare was lavish and sumptuous. The accepted custom was to share the holiday fare with neighbors, especially with those less fortunate families.

The games, fun and amusement reached a zenith on the last day of Paregentan. All meat, oil and dairy meals had to be consumed since the following day marked the start of Great Lent (Medz Bahk), when all forms of animal derived food was prohibited. So much food was consumed during Paregentan that people described the period by saying:

In local dialect:

Paygindonk, khdonk, khdonk,
Esh mu ounanq, kinitsonk, giyonk,
Voghuilonk, gulgulditsonk
[27]

Translation:

Paregentan, we rejoiced, rejoiced,
We had a donkey, we got fat?, and ate it,
Tomorrow [the next day], we got up and pined for it.

Medz Bahk (Great Lent)

Posdaldjian and Uzunian families from Hadjin

Posdaldjian and Uzunian families from Hadjin (Source: Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Yerevan. Courtesy of Antranik Dakessian).

Following the merry and decadent interlude of Paregentan comes the forty day period of self-sacrifice and self-control called Medz Bahk, which starts on the sad Tuesday of Aghotsk/Aghouhats (days of abstinence). A sadness falls upon the people. This happening is so typical that Hadjin Armenians had a saying about it. If a person’s face was sullen or dour, they’d say ‘the person was born on Aghotsk Tuesday’.

On that day, housewives would wash all the kitchen ware with ashes to erase all oil traces and would clean the house from top to bottom. [29] During Great Lent special attention was not only placed on fasting from food, but also to how one behaved; i.e., the strict application of values like moral cleanliness, moderation, temperance, and spiritual and social correctness. It was a prolonged period of prayer and redemption that Hadjin Armenians approached with piety and faith. A majority of people, especially seniors and young brides, would usually fast from food all together or just eat one meal daily (dzom). [30]

Just like many other Armenian populated regions, it was also accepted in Hadjin to decorate an onion with feathers (called aghdjabey) that would stand sentinel in the house throughout the seven weeks of Great Lent. [31] According to custom, one feather per week would be plucked until it came to the last one. When it too was removed the onion would be tossed on the roof, thus marking the end of the seven weeks of supervision and a return to normal life.

Meals during Great Lent mostly consisted of vegetables and grains. Lentil dishes were a main meal, as well as chick peas, beans, and wheat. Olive oil or sesame oil was used for cooking. [32] Special dishes for Great Lent included sour soup, simit soup, lentil or chickpea kellan, lepe, as well as desserts made of walnuts and sweet syrup. [33] Especially famous is the sour soup which, while prepared differently in different places, was a dish that best symbolized the meaning of Great Lent everywhere.

It is regarded as a great virtue to eat just one meal a day during the seven days of Avak Shapat (Holy Week). It is said that girls who are betrothed are loved even more when they fast in this manner. During those seven days they were only allowed toothpaste and pomegranates. [34]

On Holy Thursday eve, all the churches would be full of people for the ‘day of lament’. Old women and brides, hearing the stories of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, would weep and wail. [35] The twelve candles placed on the altar would be extinguished one by one after each reading of the Gospel. Only the large candle in the center would remain alight. The church would be enveloped in true darkness. Young boys would take advantage of the darkness to tie the skirt edges of women together, thus creating pandemonium when the service was over and the faithful started top leave. [36]

The next day, Friday, according to the church calendar, is the day of Christ’s crucifixion and thus a day of mourning. Generally, church rituals on Holy Thursday and Friday created a very emotional and moving atmosphere and the attendance of all was guaranteed. [37]

Zadig (Easter)

Armenian women from Hadjin (Source: Houri Ellezian collection. Courtesy of Antranik Dakessian)

Armenian women from Hadjin (Source: Houri Ellezian collection. Courtesy of Antranik Dakessian)

The week following Palms Sunday is known as Holy Week (Avak Shapat), or “khtman gisher” (Easter eve) in local Hadjin parlance. It was the day to prepare for Easter Sunday. Housewives would clean the house, prepare various desserts, and paint eggs different colors. [38] Onion skins were generally boiled to color the eggs red; while the flowers of a plant called tadjug was used to extract the color blue. [39]

This is how Hadjin native Avedis Kadelian describes Easter week in his home town:

“On khtman aravod (Easter Day) an atmosphere of joy and celebration engulfed the town. Young and old, rich and poor, would pass each other by like industrious ants making preparations and waiting impatiently for the call to church. In the meantime, grandmas and brides, having tidying the house, would take baskets of colored eggs to the cellar. Kids and youngsters aged 5-15, delightfully dressed holding the eggs, would jump to and fro, singing and playing… In the afternoon, the bells of the three churches would ring out mellifluously. Groups of the faithful would make a path to the house of God to be present at the ‘lighting of the candles‘ liturgy“. [40]

According to church practice, after evening psalms, the “lighting of the candles” liturgy would be offered, during which the glorious tidings of the resurrection of the Savior is announced. This news completes the period of Great Lent.

The assembled throng in the church lovingly participates in the ceremony. Young children, who have also been fasting, eagerly wait to hear the words “Come, eat” which signal the end of the fast. Once the priest utters the words “Come, eat, this is my body”, the boys rush out, pushing and shoving, to eat the eggs they have brought with them. [41]

The faithful wait to receive Holy Communion. Having received the news of Christ’s resurrection, they hurry home to break the fast. According to tradition, upon returning home the youngsters kiss the hands of their elders and receive a blessing: “Khayilou Sourp Zedig tenno, Asdouadz babig amen dayi as eyu tuh hasseneh tyoumsa” (Let it be a Happy Easter, Let Father God grant this day to all every year). [42] Merrymaking and joyous spirits continue well into the night.

In the evening, all the families would gather round the table. After breaking the fast with an egg or tanabour, they would eat meals enriched with madzun (yoghurt), fish, dried or fresh greens and legumes. Meat was still forbidden because Christ had not yet resurrected. [43]

Early Sunday morning the church bells would ring again, inviting the pious to glorify God. Adorned with flowers and glowing candles, the church would radiate. The crowds would gather in the church vestibule and outside to hear the words “Christ is risen from the dead”, heralding the glad tidings of the holiday.  At the end of the liturgy, the crowds would go home, shaking the hands of passerby on the way, and exchanging the words: “Christ has risen from the dead” and the response, “Blessed be the resurrection of Christ”. [44]

The egg fight was probably the most characteristic component of the holiday. It was played everywhere - in homes and on the streets. Avedis Kaselian, who participated in the game, describes what took place. One would say to the other “Lie down” (i.e., sprawl on the floor, to lose). “You lie down”, his opponent would answer. And they’d hit their teeth with the eggs once to make them stronger and then hit the other person. When one of them would lose, the loser would say, “Aghpa gegiyveno teh havgitit anadja eh: Miusuh teh cheh, belki feyeg eh” (Brother, it looks like you egg is made of tin (?). The other might be of steel, or not. [45]

The following day, Monday, was Merelots (Repose of Souls Day), and one of the most important Merelots days in the year. According to tradition, everyone went to the cemetery to visit the deceases; old and new. Many would weep, conveying their sadness to the dead. [46]

A page of the “Evangelium mit Parallelen” (Աւետարան Համաբարառ), 1450

A page of the “Evangelium mit Parallelen” (Աւետարան Համաբարառ), 1450 (Source: Staatsbibliothek, Berlin)

Green and Red Sunday

The next two Sundays following Easter were the immediate continuation of the Easter festivities. Eggs were painted green and red, competition games amongst the children continued and luncheons were prepared. These twin Sundays were some of the most happy and beloved holidays for Hadjin Armenians and were directly associated with spring and the awakening of nature. This is the reason why celebrations mostly were held outside, in the bosom of nature. As a rule, festivities took place at traditional pilgrimage sites. While everyone participated in other traditional holidays (that’s to say there were no clear-cut restrictions), mostly young people participated in celebrating these twin holidays. In this regard, we come across an interesting custom in descriptions of the Hadjin holiday series. On Red Sunday, bride and bridegroom, betrothed couples and groups of young people would climb to the top of a neighborhood called Geyig (Gelig) located in the northern part of town. There, they would again play games unique to the Easter festivities. [47] If the loser was an engaged young man, then his bride to be would have second thoughts, thinking that her betrothed “didn’t know how to pick good eggs”. [48]

A game played between young brides to be and girls was also specific to the holiday. All of them together would go next to a rock called sebrdug and would slide down. While this was a local custom, similar ritual customs can be found elsewhere. Afterwards, intimate conversations, games and jokes between the bride and girls would commence. Men not only didn’t take part but weren’t allowed to approach the group of girls. [49]

A page of the “Evangelium mit Parallelen” (Աւետարան Համաբարառ), 1450

A page of the “Evangelium mit Parallelen” (Աւետարան Համաբարառ), 1450 (Source: Staatsbibliothek, Berlin)

Holy Asdvadzadzin (The feast of The Holy Mother of God)

For Hadjin Armenians, one of the most beloved holidays was Asdvadzadzin (Assumption of the Holy Mother of God), one of the five major feast days of the Armenian Church. So much significance was imparted to the feast day, its meaning and accompanying church rituals, that one would think that it was a national holiday for Hadjin Armenians. [50] It is of not that not only Armenians, but other Christians as well, took part. [51]

Preparations commenced two weeks prior to the day. “From faraway places villagers by the thousands would bring baby young goats to the town,” recounts a Hadjin chronicler. “All families, according to their budgets, would purchase sacrificial offerings for the holiday; either one or more.” [52] So common was the custom of purchasing young goats that local and rural Turks called the holiday “oghlak ghran” (oğlak kıran, slaughter of young goats). [53] Thus, it can be said that this holiday was the most costly and esteemed. No wonder that Hadjin Armenians were ready to dedicate whatever they possessed, or didn’t possess. It is said that some 15,000 young goats were slaughtered in Hadjin for the holiday. The price of a kid goat ranged from 12 to 13 metalik, with the condition that the skin was returned to the seller. [54]

Holiday ceremonies started on Saturday evening. Most of the people would ascend to nearby gardens with provisions and the lambs. Some, mostly the elderly and the more pious, would anxiously wait for the Sunday Divine Liturgy. [55]

The piercing chimes of the bells of St. Asdvadzadzin Church on Saturday eve would announce the navagadik (“inauguration”, the end of the fasting). The church and all the others in the town would be filled with clergy and the faithful. [56] Given that it was a Name Day of the church, all would flock to Asdvadzadzin and, according to accepted custom, the primate would conduct the liturgy. When the liturgy was completed, the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony would take place, during which all the year’s harvest would be blessed as well. Like everywhere else, grapes wouldn’t be eaten in Hadjin until they were blessed. It was even considered a sin to do so.

With the church services done, everyone would rush to the gardens to join relatives in the feasting and merrymaking. Thus Hadjin was literally a ghost town for two days. Together, in-laws and friends would eat, drink, dance and sing. Gunfire, as a sign of joy and holiday enthusiasm, would ring out at the height of the festivities. [57]

On Monday evening, groups of people would make their way back home; singing, dancing, and firing their guns all the way. The custom was also to share some of the bounty with the poor. People would share the madagh (offering, food and grapes) with crowds lining the streets and gathered at the town entrance. Those receiving these gifts would offer words of blessing in response. [58]

A scene from Hadjin

A scene from Hadjin (Source: Ferdinand Brockes, Quer durch Klein-Asien, Gütersloh, 1900)

Other Holidays

In addition to the holidays described above, there were others included in the Hadjin holiday calendar – Hampartsoum, Vidjog (Vidjag), Vaytivo (Vartivar), and others. [59] During the year, in churches and homes, especially those homes with family members having the same names as the saints, they would hold special remembrance holidays; for example – St. Hagop, St. Garabed, St. Kevork, St. Sarkis, etc. And when that holiday was also a church Name Day, the faithful and clergy of other churches would go to the church in question and hold a joint liturgy. Hadjin’s prominent citizens would make generous donations on the occasion of the church holiday that sometimes amounted to 3,000 – 5,000 tahegans. [60] St. Hagop Day was the most splendid and attended of all, which also was the holiday of the similarly named Hadjin monastery. Pilgrims would gather at the monastery and pray, sing and celebrate for several days. [61] One of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Hadjin Armenians was St. Garabed monastery in Tomarza, where the saint’s grave was located. The main day of pilgrimage coincided with the Vartavar holiday. For the occasion, countless pilgrims from Hadjin would travel to St. Garabed and spend an entire week there. [62] They would enthusiastically participate in both church ceremonies and popular festivities.

  1. [1] H.B. Boghosian, General history of Hadjin and the neighboring Kozan-Dagh Armenian villages [in Armenian], Los Angeles, 1942, p. 250.
  2. [2] Ibid.
  3. [3] Ibid, p. 199.
  4. [4] Ibid, pp. 199-200.
  5. [5] Ibid, p. 200.
  6. [6] Ibid.
  7. [7] Ibid, p.252.
  8. [8] Ibid, p. 250.
  9. [9] Ibid, p. 251.
  10. [10] Ibid, p. 199.
  11. [11] Ibid.
  12. [12] Ibid, p. 200.
  13. [13] Ibid, pp. 200-201.
  14. [14] Ibid, p. 201.
  15. [15] Ibid.
  16. [16] Ibid.
  17. [17] Hranoush Kharatyan, The holiday and festival culture in Armenia [in Armenian], Yerevan, 2009, p. 63.
  18. [18] Hrachya Adjarian, Armenian Dialectal Dictionary, Vol. 3, Yerevan, 1977, p. 537.
  19. [19] H.B. Boghosian, p. 201, 338.
  20. [20] Ibid, p. 201.
  21. [21] Ibid.
  22. [22] Ibid.
  23. [23] Ibid. p. 202.
  24. [24] Hranoush Kharatyan, pp. 143-144.
  25. [25] H.B. Boghosian, p. 202.
  26. [26] Ibid, p. 202.
  27. [27] Ibid, p. 196.
  28. [28] Ibid, p. 202.
  29. [29] Ibid.
  30. [30] Ibid.
  31. [31] Ibid.
  32. [32] Ibid, p. 336.
  33. [33] Ibid, p. 202.
  34. [34] Ibid, p. 321.
  35. [35] Ibid, p. 202.
  36. [36] Ibid.
  37. [37] Ibid.
  38. [38] Ibid, p. 203.
  39. [39] Ibid.
  40. [40] Ibid, p. 307.
  41. [41] Ibid, p. 203.
  42. [42] Ibid.
  43. [43] Ibid.
  44. [44] Ibid, p. 204.
  45. [45] Ibid.
  46. [46] Ibid.
  47. [47] Ibid.
  48. [48] Ibid.
  49. [49] Ibid, p. 205.
  50. [50] Ibid.
  51. [51] Ibid.
  52. [52] Ibid.
  53. [53] Ibid.
  54. [54] Ibid.
  55. [56] Ibid, p. 206.
  56. [57] Ibid.
  57. [58] Ibid.
  58. [59] Ibid.
  59. [60] Ibid, p. 198.
  60. [61] Ibid.
  61. [62] Ibid, pp. 198-199, 209.