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Winter Holidays in Armenia

Tourism

Winter holidays in Armenia will definitely be bright and memorable, as there is everything you need for an unforgettable holiday during the New Year - the modern capital, ancient monuments, high-class ski resorts and, of course, excellent cuisine.

​Despite the fact that Armenia is primarily associated with the hot sun and tasty fruits and is often seen as a tourist destination in summer, in winter you can spend your vacation in Armenia no worse. We will tell you how Armenia can surprise you in winter, and why it is worth visiting in this period of the year.

​Gastronomic ecstas

Armenian dishes of winter period are especially appetizing, they are distinguished by variety and bright tastes, which is partly due to the upcoming Lent, during which (for 40 days) food is eaten exclusively of plant origin. During the fasting period (the beginning falls on the last winter month), the Armenian cuisine, despite strict restrictions, also offers a wide selection of delicious dishes that will be interesting for vegetarians.

It is impossible to mention all Armenian winter dishes because of their large number, so we will try to highlight the main dishes, without which not a single traditional winter feast can do:

  • ​Khash - beef soup, which is eaten with dried lavash in accompany with a shot of vodka. This dish in Armenia is pleasant to eat in those months in the names of which the letter “p” is present, namely from September to April inclusive.
  • Dolma - ground beef with rice and onions, wrapped in young grape leaves. Dolma is eaten with matsun (fermented milk), seasoned with garlic. In Armenia, you will not find a single New Year's holiday table without dolma.
  • Harisa - thick porridge made from crushed wheat and meat, usually chicken or lamb meat. The process of making is quite long, usually about 5 hours, but the taste is truly worth it.
  • Spas Soup is the most favorite soup of every Armenian, it is prepared on the basis of matsun (yogurt) with purified wheat and greens.
  • Arishta - homemade noodles, are made with flour, water and salt. The classic gravy for Arishta is matsun and garlic.
  • Aveluk (Horse sorrel) - Armenian dishes from aveluk are just a find for vegetarians. The most common is an Aveluk salad with onions, seasoned with vegetable oil, walnuts, garlic and salt.

New Year or «Amanor» in Armenia

Initially, the Armenians celebrated the new year (in Armenian «Amanor») on March 21 in the agricultural cycle. The analogy of the New Year tree of the Armenians was the "tree of life", which was prepared in the form of five ears of wheat straw. The tree of life, just as the tree was decorated with a variety of handmade toys. Armenians have their own Santa Claus - Kaghand Pap (grandfather of the New Year), symbolizing fertility and the beginning of a new life. Since the end of the XVIII century, the holiday began to celebrate the European tradition. Today, the New Year in Armenia is celebrated with the family. In the following holidays, it is customary to visit close relatives and friends. Many residents of the capital celebrate the holiday in the Republic Square, where the main Christmas tree is located.

From the beginning of December in the capital you can feel the atmosphere of the holiday: the city is decorated with New Year lights, Christmas markets with various entertainment, mulled wine, sweets and colorful souvenirs are opening in the streets of the capital.
If you are traveling to Armenia during the New Year, you can book a table in one of the many restaurants, clubs, bars, etc.

Christmas traditions

Armenia is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as the state religion (301). To this day, Armenians maintain and deeply respect Christian traditions. Therefore, Christmas in Armenia is one of the most important holidays, along with the New Year and Easter. In many countries of the world, the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany has been divided into two dates, but the Armenian church has kept its traditions and to this day celebrates Christmas on the night of January 5th and 6th.

On Christmas Eve, residents of the country visit the temples, from where they bring home Christmas fire, symbolizing the light of the Star of Bethlehem. In the morning, Armenians go to the Christmas Liturgy and Holy Communion. The main celebration takes place in Holy Etchmiadzin. After the service, the Great Consecration of water is carried out, which is then distributed to the parishioners. The holiday itself is celebrated by Armenians at home with family. By tradition, fish, plov (rice with raisins) and red wine are served on the table.

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