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).
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 /