February 14, 2011


On February 14, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Lord’s Presentation to the Temple, Tiarni’ndaraj or Candlemas as it is known in the West.

History and Meaning of Tiarn’indaraj

An honest man, Simeon, was living in Jerusalem. He was ordered by the king of Egypt to translate the New Testament into Greek. Once, during translations, he read about pregnancy of a virgin and that she gave birth to a son. Simeon thought that people will not believe this and removed the line and then he fell asleep. When he woke up he saw that the line was written with golden letters. The God saw this and said to Simeon: “You’ll not die until you see the Blessed of the God”. So, when Mary and Joseph brought the 40 day-old Child to the Temple in Jerusalem Simeon went towards the Child and by holding the infant in his arms said: “Lord, let your servant now depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your Salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people. A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of Your people, Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

So, the feast is called “Tiarni’ndaraj” which means towards the God or go to meet the God in Armenian and it symbolizes the presentation of the 40 day-old Christ Child to the Temple in Jerusalem. That's why the Feast of Tiarni'ndaraj is celebrated on February 14, exactly 40 days after Christs' birth, January 6th (according to Armenian Apostolic Church).

Traditions of the day

According to Church traditions, Evening Services are conducted on the night preceding the Feast Day, on February 13. At the end of the service, the priest lights a candle from the Holy Altar, and distributes the flame to all present. With great care, the faithful take the lit candles home to their families.

Our candle, taken from the church

After taking the candles home, people light bonfires from the candles. Armenians believe that if your make seven rounds around the fire and then jump over it, the fire will drive away bad evils and will bring you success. Don't be scared if your cloths get burnt, it is even better. Some people even throw parts of their cloths in the fire in order to burn all their unhappiness.

The feast of Tearn'indaraj, celebrated in one of the schools

Another important tradition of the day is the blessing of newly wed couples. They are the most important participants of Feast's all events.

The morning of the Feast Day, Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Armenian Churches throughout the world. The hymn offered during the Liturgy commemorating Tiarn’ndaraj glorifies Simeon’s articulation of “a Light to lighten the Gentiles”. The hymn praising Simeon also lauds the Mystery of the Incarnation.

Many additional customs have been inherited from the past, including the blessing of the four corners of the world in the Andastan Service, the blessing of newlywed couples, as well as offering prayers for the crops and fertility of the fields.

Watch the video about Tiarn'indaraj at Mother See Holy Ejmiatsin:

Sources: http://araratian-tem.am / signboard at Holy Trinity Church /

February 4, 2011

Tourism: A new development factor for Armenia

Special for Azad-Hye.net; Azad-Hye at Facebook
(direct link to the article)

The Republic of Armenia, located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, is one of the developing countries. One of the main ways of growth for Armenia is tourism, an economic activity that involves large number of population from different sectors.

In the past not many would have been able to show Armenia on the map of international tourism. The situation is changing rapidly. More and more information is available about Armenia on the net, including several new Guinness records. The news about the opening of the longest aerial ropeway in the world attracted many tourists to Tatev in South Armenia last year. The discovery of the world’s oldest leather shoe in one of the caves near Areni village brought tourists and researchers to the area. Few weeks ago the oldest known wine making facility in the world was unearthed in Armenia.

Armenia is easily accessible to tourists from many locations. Armenia’s location is adding some allure to the destination. The country connects East and West and can benefit from both sides, providing platform for enrichment between civilizations.

Communicating with the local population in Armenia is an easy process. Besides keeping alive their national language, the population speaks Russian fluently and now has embraced other languages. Almost everyone speaks at least three languages. Foreign languages are taught at all educational levels.

Armenia is a hospitable country. The first notes about the hospitable Armenians were mentioned by Xenophon of Athens, a Greek historian and soldier, who is known for his writings on the history of his own times, the 4th century BC. In one of his writings he describes the march of 10 thousand Greek soldiers across Armenia, where he reports how the Armenians provided so much food to their Greek guests that the troops had trouble moving forward after consuming heavy meals.

In recent times tourists find Armenia as a very friendly environment, with an extrovert population, ready to converse. Foreigners can always depend on the help of local population. There are many historical and cultural places of interests in Armenia and wide variety of museums and galleries. Some of the most popular places include the Matenadaran (a depository of ancient manuscripts), Armenian Genocide Monument and Museum, Children’s Gallery, etc.

The country has rich agenda of events and celebrations which can easily keep the tourist busy. Some of these events include the annual celebration of Yerevan’s birthday (This year Yerevan turns 2793 years old, older than Rome), Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Jermuk chess international championship, “One Nation, One Culture” celebrations, which unite Diaspora Armenians with the homeland, etc. As the range of such activities is very wide, from sports to culture, from historical to traditional, they attract people of various preferences.

Although a living place for one million people, the capital Yerevan is known for its tranquility. The rush hour is much calmer compared to other European capitals.

In Armenia you can experience all four seasons of the year: the blossom of the trees in spring, the hot days in summer, dropping foliage in autumn and snowy, cold winter. In winter tourists can practice ski on the ice rinks in Yerevan or go for outdoor ski in Tsakhkadzor resort. In summer they can swim in the warm waters of Lake Sevan, one of the highest lakes in the world. These are only few examples of the plethora of activities available for tourists in this tiny republic.

Armenia’s stable economic growth provides favorable conditions for promoting tourism industry. Global economic downturn has certainly affected the country, but there are great signs of recovery. The number of tourists in 2010 was higher compared to previous years. Deputy Minister of Economy Ara Petrosyan underlined that despite of a -4% decline of tourism on worldwide scale, Armenia witnessed growth of 3%. As a result, about 585,000 tourists visited the country in 2010.

Armine Pilosyan in Azad-Hye Business Directory