April 4, 2010

Easter (Zatik) in Armenia

Today, April 4, 2010, the Easter is celebrated in Armenia. Easter or The Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the five major feasts of the Armenian Church. The folk name of the feast is Zatik (which means ladybird in Armenian).
The main origin of the feast is the following: (See this video or read below)

Biblical origin
Following the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ His body was taken off the cross and placed into the tomb and the entrance to the tomb was closed by a large stone and the soldiers were ordered to control the entrance to the tomb. After three days the three women, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the Mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee brought spices and perfumes to anoint the body of Jesus. They found the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, so they went in but they didn’t the body of the Lord. They stood there puzzled about this, when suddenly two angels dressed in white appeared and said to them, “Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive? He is not here, he has been raised” (Lk 24:5-6). The women returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven disciples and the rest. According to Peter more than 500 people saw Christ who had risen from the dead. So, this is the evangelical tiding of the fact of Easter or Holy Resurrection.

Traditional Meals
Armenians have many traditional meals for the Easter but the most famous one are the coloured eggs. A week before Zatik all the Armenian families start to raise grass for Easter. They put some cotton on the plate, scatter wheat seeds on it and water the seeds every day till Zatik, so the grass grows. I did the same (see the photo).

Before the day of the feast, in the eveneing, we colour eggs. The original colour of the eggs is red which symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, however, nowadays other colours may also be used to make the table more colourful. Most of the people use a natural method that has been used hundreds of years before now-the red onion's cover. We take the cover of the red onion, add water and boil the eggs in that water. The darkest eggs on the photo above are coloured using this method.

The most interesting part of the Zatik for me is the "Egg fights". Each person chooses an egg and crash it to the others' eggs. This is like a competition, you should be able to keep your egg unbroken as long as possible.

Other famous meals for Zatik include "Chamichov Plav" (which is rice with raisins, rice symbolizes all the people and the raisins symbolize the people who believe in Jesus Christ), "Kanacheghen" (meals prepared from different types of greens). All these meals can be found in the video below.

On Sunday, the faithful welcome each other on the occasion of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ conveying the great tiding: "Khristos hariav i merelots" ("Christ is Risen from the dead") and receive the answer: "Orhnyal e harutyunn Qristosi" ("Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ").

The Armenian Church traditionally celebrates evening Divine Liturgy on the evening prior to Jesus Christ’s Glorious Resurrection (Easter). Following the conclusion of the Liturgy, the assembled faithful take lit candles home, symbolizing the Light that Christ brought into the world. The Divine Liturgy celebrated on the eve is the start of the festive ceremonies.

People also organize different celebrations, parties this day.

Some related videos:

-Armenian youth celebrats Zatik with dances and games
Charity Easter Egg Painting Show-Competition in Armenia (2004)
Video Clip "Zatik"