Monday, December 8, 2014

The Armenian Culture

You learn something new every day, right?

In light of our goddaughter's christening yesterday, I wanted to write a little bit about the Armenian culture.

Eight or so years ago, I probably couldn't even point to Armenia on an unmarked world map. It's located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Here it is in case you're curious:

Saro was born in the U.S. but has been to Armenia. He speaks, reads and writes it fluently. My mother in law speaks English, Armenian, some french and some Arabic. I've learned so much about the culture, language, religion (similar to mine, Catholic) and of course, food!

I've been to Armenian apostolic church a bunch of times thus far. I have learned that many things are said 3 times (for the father, son and holy spirit). Example: It's not just "lord have mercy." It's "Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy."

We also turn around, facing the front door of the church, away from the altar or East/toward the rising sun for a prayer.

When being baptized, the baby is placed in a sink of warm holy water 3 times and then each sense (ears, eyes, nose, lips, hands) is blessed with oil. It is recommended to refrain from bathing the baby for 2 days and the first water used to wash him/her should be discarded outside in the soil and not down the drain. I find this to be a very special ritual.

On Saturday, we went to Saro's cousins house for a get together and dinner. It is so nice to see (almost) everyone come together. We were missing a few cousins! There are always at least 25 of us and it's a very welcoming, loving, fun and relaxed atmosphere.

The food is amazing and I recommend checking out The Armenian Kitchen food blog. Most dishes are labor intensive and contain a lot of ingredients but man, is it yummy! A lot of dishes contain fillo dough and who can resist that?!

We had braised lamb, baked chicken wings and thighs with onion and potato, rice pilaf, chopped eggplant with tomato, orzo with spinach and olives, cheese baked in fillo, & stuffed grape leaves. YUM

Words/phrases I can pick up on when listening to a conversation (without googling them!) 

Parev - Hello
Eench bes es - How are you?
Ayo - Yes
Votch - No
Kisher paree - Good night
Paree Deratarz - Happy Birthday
Paree Luis - Good Morning
Medzmama - Grandma
Tant (I think?) - Aunt
Amo - Uncle
Chur - Water
Bachig - Kiss
Yez Kez Serum Em - I love you

That's about all I know!

Saro's family is very tight knit and family oriented. I really enjoy being around them and calling them family now, too!

If you're interested in learning more about the culture, click here.

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1 comment:

  1. Love this, Rachel! I was so bummed that we missed the festivities! Also, for aunt we say "tanteeg" which is actually from the French. And "Yes Kezee Serum Em" is I love you in the Eastern dialect (spoken only in Armenia) while us Westerners say "Kezee guh seerem." Miss you!