Christmas in Armenia
January 5 - 7
Christmas in Armenia is celebrated in the traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church and is combined with the Feast of Epiphany, which commemorates the revelation of God incarnating as Jesus Christ. Armenian Christmas has a deeply religious meaning and is preceded by a week-long-fast, which they finish on January 5 after the Christmas Eve service.
The Christmas Eve meal is called khetum. Since it ends the fast, khetum usually consists of lighter dishes such as rice, greens, a yogurt-based wheat soup called tanabur, dried fruit and nuts. Wine is drunk as a symbol of the blood of Jesus.
In the evening, Armenians light candles in their homes and churches to symbolize the arrival of God.
The following day, people head to churches to commemorate the Epiphany, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. As a part of the liturgy, priests consecrate water for parishioners to take home to cleanse their bodies and bless their households.
On January 7, people remember their deceased relatives by visiting their tombs, adorning them with flowers and leaving Christmas foods near the graves as offerings. They also recount stories of their loved ones, raising toasts in their memory.