February 3, 2010

Armenian Wedding Traditions

One of my friends from Iran showed me a video about Persian wedding knif dance. There are many Armenian wedding traditions using knif as well.

It's very interesting how wedding traditions in different countries have a lot in common. I'll introduce some of them below and will appreciate if you leave a comment below telling us are these traditions used in your country.

Armenian Wedding Traditions

Though the wedding traditions vary in different regions of Armenia and mostly are affected by the traditions used in each family, most of the Armenian wedding traditions are as follows:

The main members of the traditional Armenian wedding are:
-Hars (bride)
-Pessa (groom)
-Harsnaqoor (usually bride’s sister-not married)
-Azab bashi (usually groom’s brother-not married)
-Qavor (a man chosen by the couples from the groom’s relatives as their advisor and a person whom they respect)
-Qavorkin (Qavor’s wife)

The traditional Armenian wedding starts the day before the wedding day when groom’s relatives prepare a tray for the wedding. The traditional wedding tray contains Armenian cognac, some fruits, sweets, it may contain some gifts. Sometimes the tray can be replaced with a basket. The tray or the basket should be decorated.

The next day family members of the bridegroom go to the bride’s house. They start to dance under the Armenian Dhol and Zurna music in front of the bride’s house. They dance with the trays they have brought. Doing so they show the gifts in trays they have brought for the bride.

Groom's family members dancing in front of the bride's house

Armenian traditional music is one of the most important parts of each Armenian wedding. You can see a traditional Armenian wedding procession performed by Chookasian Armenian Ensemble here.

When the family members of the bride see this they go to meet the “guests” and dance with them. The bride’s relatives dance holding Armenian Gata (a sweet Armenian cookie) in their hands. This shows that they are glad to welcome the groom’s family. They take the gifts from groom’s family and give them the Gatas.
See the video Groom's relatives dance in front of bride's house.
During this process the bride should sit in her room and nobody can see her except her woman relatives. Qavorkin takes the wedding veil of the bride and with other women goes to dress the bride. When they start dressing the bride they sing different songs. The words of the songs are different but they are something like this:

Hars em gnum, tanic heranum,
Hars em gnum, tanic heranum,
Tasnyot tarekan, nani jan,
Siro tiranum.
Indz berel es, sirel, gurgurel,
Indz berel es, sirel, gurgurel,
... Anush katd...
Orhnanqd togh lini, nani jan,
Misht el indz vra.

The translation of this song is:

I became a bride; I’m going away from home,
I became a bride; I’m going away from home,
At the age of seventeen, my mother
I found my love.
You gave me a life, love and fondle,
You gave me a life, love and fondle,

Let your sweet milk
Be a blessing, my mother
Your blessing forever.

Qavorkin makes seven rounds with the veil around brides head as a wish of happiness and success and puts the veil on the brides head. During this dressing process Qavorkin also sprays the brides perfume on the unmarried girls in the room as a wish to find their love. Qavorkin also should give shoes to the bride but a person from the bride’s family should manage to stole one pair of the shoe. Then Qavorkin should dance with a shoe and offer money to get the shoe back.
See the dressing video below.

When the dressing process is over the groom enters the bride’s room to take her out to the guests. The face of the bride should be covered and only the groom can unveil it and kiss the bride. In the guest-room a small dessert table usually is waiting for the couples and the guests.

After some wishes and toasts the couple prepares to go to the church.
When the bride and the groom want to go out of the brides house a boy from the brides family (usually the smallest boy) holds a knife at the front door and doesn’t allow to take the bride out. The groom should pay money to the boy to take his lover out. He should pay as much as the boy requires, otherwise he will not be able to take her out (however, usually it’s a symbolic amount).

The Church Wedding Ceremony
In the Armenian Church this vivid ceremony is a like the steps of the new life of husband and wife. Each of the acts performed during the service has a special meaning and significance.

After being blessed by the priest, rings are exchanged between the bride and groom, giving expression to the fact that spouses in marriage will constantly be complementing each other.

During the exhortation to the bride and groom and later on in the service, the right hands of the bride and groom are joined to symbolize the oneness of the couple.

The rite of crowning is the climax of the wedding service. The crowns are the sign of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the Sacrament.

The groom and the bride are crowned as the king and the queen of their own little kingdom, the home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. During the crowning, the bride and groom face one another and Qavor stands between the two, holding a cross over their heads.

The rite of crowning is followed by the blessing of the common cup when a goblet of wine is blessed in remembrance of the marriage at Cana of Galilee which was blessed by Christ’s presence. The drinking of the wine from the goblet serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys as well as sorrow.

At the end of the wedding ceremony the priest blesses the couple, asking Christ to "protect them under the shadow of thy holy and honorable cross in peace". Thus God’s grace is imparted to them to live together in His love, mutually fulfilling and perfecting each other.

The continuation - Comming soon!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Your blog is very interesting. I think you are describing your country, aren't you? In my opinion, you should in a post write a bout the position of your country, too. It makes a better sense.
    Morteza from LM


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