The Miracle of New Year


The miracle of New Year

If you have decided to travel this winter, do not miss the chance to visit Armenia and meet the New Year here. Not only you will see the Armenian gorgeous winter, not only you will ski and glide and take the ropeway to the Tsakhkunyats mountainous chain to see the breathtaking view, have a khash in one of Aragats mountain khash places but also meet the New Year in a hospitable house in one of the charming villages and feel the History’s enchanting breath.

The term “New Year” in Armenian has been different in different historical periods – Kaghand, Navasard, Amanor. The essence has not changed, however: a never-ending feast in a warm family atmosphere with relatives, neighbors, and friends, with endless conversations, and singing and dancing till dawn.

In the past and nowadays alike, the Armenians keep the belief that the way one starts a year is the way one will spend it. This is why Armenians start getting prepared for this family holiday long in advance, with the whole family, and with special enthusiasm. They start the holiday shopping in 1-2 weeks before the holiday, wrap the gifts and get ready for a lavish feast. Day and night, housewives cook numerous meals to meet the New Year at an opulent table.

In the past, the New Year eve would be met with seven meals and an open door. In some villages, they would cover the threshold with flour and honey to have a rich harvest in the coming year. They would keep the fire on in the fireplace during the whole New Year night. The responsibility to keep the fire on belonged to the Grandfather. As for the Grandma, she would spin a thread beforehand and weave stockings. Spinning and weaving symbolized the links over the years. With these very stockings on, the family members would meet the New Year. The youngest generation would decorate the holiday tree which, by the way, wasn’t quite a fir tree. A fruit tree in the orchard would serve the purpose, and candies, dried fruits, raisins, and nuts would decorate the holiday tree. At the end, the tree would be covered with colorful threads. The scent of newly baked bread would fill the house. The Grandma would hide a coin in the baking bread. People believed that the surprise piece would bring good luck to the person who discovered it.

While the adults were getting ready for the holiday dinner, the kids would go from one door to another and push the New Year sack through the doors of the neighbors. The latter would know to put sweets, nuts, and fruits into the sack.

Like in modern-days, in the old days similarly, the special day would be concluded with a holiday dinner. All family members, big and small, would gather around the table and listen to the senior member.

Everyone would meet the New Year midnight with his blessing and prayer, believing that it would make the coming year prosperous.

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