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Armenians have completely forgotten many good traditions of New Year, ethnographer Asya Aboyan told ArmInfo.
“In ancient time New Year symbolized awakening of the nature, therefore New Year was celebrated on March 21. Kurds and Persians still observe this tradition. New Year was called differently throughout its history: Kaghand, Taremut, Tareglukh, Navasard (celebrated in October 11). Armenians began celebrating New Year on January 1 since late 19th century, in some areas – since early 20th century,” she said.
The ethnographer recalled that New Year has been a family holiday for centuries. “Our predecessors used to keep the home-fire burning on that day as it symbolized the spirit of the dead ancestors. They were superstitious and used to tell fortune on the New Year night. They believed in “the symbol of the first guest” and hoped that it would be a positive and easygoing person and the New Year would be positive and easy as well. Those days Armenians tried not to use bad language,” she said.
The ethnographer said that the New Year festive table of our ancestors was completely different from nowadays. “Everyone now tries to have luxurious festive tables with meat dishes and gourmet items. New Year has become a holiday of gluttony. In the meantime, our ancestors were eating the dishes that were symbolizing something. The criterion of successful year was not the luxurious table but the symbols announcing a successful year,” she said.
In addition, the ethnographer said that in ancient time Armenians were eating Lenten dishes on New Year holidays, because it coincided with Christmas and starting from Dec 30 up to Jan 5 people must observe Lent. Unlike today’s pork, honey was an important attribute on the New Year tables in ancient time as honey symbolizes “honey days” in the coming year, she concluded.