Spring Holidays in Armenia
Memorable dates and holidays of Armenian spring
International Women’s Day (8th of March)
Armenian men are famous for their peculiar gallantry and tender attitude to the fairer sex, and who else unless these Caucasian macho could think to celebrate the 8th of March for the whole month! Yes, do not be surprised. On 8 March the adopted around the world International Women's Day only opens the series of daily events, which results in the “Month of praise of women”. During the whole month (the only day off is the 8th of March at this) festive events: concerts, theater premiere, exhibitions, fairs, folk festivals are held in Armenia. Every public house prepares its own original holiday program. Every woman, whether young or old, does not remain without attention and gifts from the stronger sex at this holiday.
The holiday of Maternity and Beauty (Annunciation Day)
On April 7 the Armenian Church observes the great holiday – the day of Annunciation of Mother of the God. According to the Bible legend, on this day angels announced the Virgin Mary on forthcoming birth of Jesus Christ. In secular life this religious holiday turned into the Day of Maternity and Beauty. The name of holiday speaks for itself. When long-awaited warmth comes, the sun shining with care, the nature wakes up and feeling are overflowing, this day is dedicated to warm, cheerful, tender feelings to the fairer sex, and first of all to mothers, to whom Armenian absorb the solemn respect with mother’s milk.
On this holiday children congratulate their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and men – their wives and brides… And present them not only with flowers and gifts but their creative works. On this day festive events: children’s concerts and performances, exhibitions of children’s paintings, contests, show are held all around the country…
It is wonder that for a long time (from 1995 to 2000) the Day of maternity and beauty was the main women’s holiday in Armenia, excluding from the calendar even traditional March 8.
Memory Day of Victims of Genocide
The 24th of April is the tragic date in the fortune of Armenian people. On this day in 1915 mass arrests of representatives of Armenian intelligence were committed in Istanbul: more than 800 people became the innocent victims of cruel policy of Turkish government, decided to wipe the Armenian nation off the face of earth. This reprisal entailed the wholesale massacres of Armenians all over Turkey, their deportation from long-occupied places. As the result of genocide more than 1,5 millions of Armenian people were killed. Since that time more than one generation of Armenians has grown up, but the memory of this misfortune, as the great pain, lives even in young hearts. And this wound is never-healing: and the evidence of it is the sea of people, coming every year on April 24 to the Tsitsernakaberd memorial, dedicated to the victims of Armenian genocide, that to lay the flowers and to pay the tribute of memory to innocent murdered countrymen.
Formerly this holiday was widely and funny celebrated on the whole post-Soviet space. Columns of demonstrators with portraits of leaders, balloons, flowers, and banners went along the main square…the May-Day was long-awaited holiday either for adults or for children. Therefore it easily fell into the new history of Armenia, and is the day off and the favorite national holiday. This is the day, when one can go for a walk along the city with his family and big company. Cafes, parks, rites, theatres, cinemas, galleries and just cosy green squares near the fountains – all of these works, calls and lures numerous people, having rest.
Along with the professional army Armenia has the union of voluntary military forces “Yerkap”. It was officially set in 1993, though earlier it took active participation in Karabakh conflict and made a big contribution in the victory of Armenia. The services of the union “Yerkap” were highly-appreciated by the government of the country, which even founded the professional day of all members of “Yerkap” – the 8th of May. Especially vividly and stately it is celebrated in Nagorno Karabakh. It was the day of the great battle for the city Shusha, on release of which Armenia could reverse the course of war and come out the many-years conflict victorious.
The Holiday of Victory and Peace
The day of victory in the Great Patriotic War is held sacred also in Armenia, the country, which sent to the front line more than half of million of its sons, half of which did not come back… Moreover, distressful Armenia, which more than half of its history was under the press of conquerors, is that rare country, which can appreciate the victory for the freedom and independence of native land. And on this day all residents of the country again hank the God for peace sky over head and remember with sadness those, who gave their lives for it. In Yerevan festivities begin from the very morning: numbers of civilian people with flowers come to the Yerablur Pantheon and Eternal Flame (Park of Victory). War veterans also come here, and there are not only the veterans of the Great Patriotic War among them, but soldiers of Afghani wars, veterans of Karabakh war, all military men of Armenia. Along with the members of government and diplomatic missions war veterans lay the flowers and wreaths and pay the minute of silence to tribute the memory of all the fallen.
The center of festive events on this day is the Park of Victory. Concerts, sport events, exhibitions, contests are arranged here on this warm day of spring.
And in the evening the festive salute starts on the central square in honor of Victory Day.
The Day of First Republic
The 28th of May is the great state holiday in Armenia. On this day in 1918 the Republic of Armenia was declared at first time. It must be said that sovereignty was restored only on small part of the historic lands of Armenia - only on the territory of Eastern Armenia, which at that time has been part of the Russian Empire for quite long time. But the chaos in revolutionary Russia virtually left the Caucasus without control, which was not failed to avail by Turks, who invaded here in May 1918. Immediately in several regions – Sardarapat, Bash Aparan and Karakilis – cruel battles occured between people's volunteer corps and Turkish troops, in order to prevent their invasion of Yerevan. Especially cruel battle was the Sardarapat one. At the cost of hundreds of their sons Armenia managed to repulse the enemy. And finally the Democratic Republic of Armenia was declared on May 28, 1918 in Tiflis. And today, despite the fact that the young republic lasted only four years, Armenians continue to honor the date of gaining its first independence. The day is declared a national holiday, marked as day off. On May 28 residents and guests of Yerevan and come to honor the memory of the heroes of the Sardarapat battle to the same-named memorial, that to lay flowers and wreaths and to light candles.
There is another interesting holiday tradition - climbing the Mount Aragats - the highest mount in the Southern Caucasus. Even the leadership and clergy of the country participate in climbing. Also exciting excursions to places of battles are arranged, the crown of which has traditionally become theatrical performances about the history of Armenia, its traditions, customs, culture, as well as concerts of folk groups. Public festivities, fairs, concerts are loudly and cheerfully held throughout the country…
In the evening the festive fireworks start at the main square in Yerevan - Republic Square.