Hospitality Traditions in Armenia
“May my food be sweet for you”
Hospitality traditions in Armenia reflect the warm generosity of locals and their belief that each guest is a gift from God. When traveling to remote town and villages, it is not unusual to get invited to local homes, where families will happily share their food with travelers, offer a bed for the night and recount old legends and Armenian traditions.
Armenians will set the table at home, work or even in their yard for any joyful occasion that involves their loved ones. Many sincerely believe that the more often you set the table (for any reason), the more blessings you will receive back from God.
According to hospitality traditions in Armenia, when invited to partake in food or visit someone’s home, a person should only accept the invitation after the third offer. At the gathering, the host should always make a toast in honor of the guest and serve food in heaping, generous portions. Locals are proud to offer each guest Armenian lavash flatbread, delicious local khorovats kabob, dolma and many other delicious dishes, along with famous Armenian brandy, wine or oghi, a homemade fruit vodka.
One of the most common words in Armenian, which you will likely hear when dining with locals, is jan (dear), a polite, affectionate term used for both men and women. This simple word embodies the kindness, gentleness and attentiveness of the Armenian people. Another common expression at parties is “Anush lini” - “May my food be sweet for you”. When visiting an Armenian family, you can delight the host with a simple toast: “Oghaxd kangoon lini”, or “Let your home be full of joy and happiness!”.