Embracing the New Year in Armenia: Journey of Cultural Immersion
Join us through Armenia's unique New Year celebrations. Discover how these traditions reflect the rich cultural heritage and close-knit community spirit of this post-Soviet country.
Cultural Immersion Experiences: New Years Celebration in Armenia
Reflecting on 2023: A Year of Achievements and Anticipation
As 2023 winds down, it's a time for reflection, remembrance, and celebration of the achievements we've had. But December also brims with the excitement of the upcoming holidays and thoughts of how we'll welcome the new year. This is particularly true in post-Soviet countries, where New Year's Eve is a significant occasion.
The Significance of New Year's Eve in Post-Soviet Culture
In these nations, New Year's Eve transformed into a magical night under the influence of the Soviet Government's anti-religious stance, elevating it above Christmas. It's a time when everyone strives to celebrate in the most fun and luxurious way possible, believing that it sets the tone for a prosperous and successful year ahead. Numerous superstitions surround this night, influencing everything from the exoticism of the dishes to how the table is laid.
The Traditional Feast: A Blend of Cultures
In every Armenian family, certain dishes are a must, like the Olivier salad, also known as Stolichnaya or blinchiki, and the revered roasted pig leg (ham). Despite their Soviet-Russian origins, these dishes are immensely popular in Armenia.
Delicacies and Drinks: A Competitive Showcase
The table also features basturma, sujukh, a variety of fruits (both fresh and dried), nuts, and, more recently, a pineapple that's kept for 10 days and only cut when everything else is consumed. The only traditional Armenian dish typically present is dolma, made of ground meat rolled in vine leaves.
The array of drinks, from vodka and wine to brandy, whiskey, and other liquors, is another area of competition. I recall a neighbor who, despite financial constraints, borrowed a bottle of martiny to enhance the table's appearance, embodying the importance of a fancy New Year's Eve display.
The Essence of Armenian Hospitality
There's an expectation that the quantity of food should last for 13 days, catering to both family and guests who visit to extend New Year greetings. This part of the celebration, where Armenians visit each other's homes, strengthens and renews family ties. It's almost a "food terror," where you're expected to sample everything, leading to days of being continuously drunk and stuffed.
Cultural Immersion: The Heart of Armenian New Year Celebrations
Each household you visit insists on you trying their special dishes, from blinchik to ham, claiming theirs to be the tastiest. While this might seem overwhelming, it reflects the close bonds and communal spirit among Armenians, visible in both celebrations and times of need.
Concluding this journey through Armenia's New Year celebrations, we realize that participating in these traditions is more than just a festive experience. It's a deep dive into the heart of Armenian culture, where you truly become part of the community. Celebrating New Year in an Armenian village isn't just a party; it's a rich cultural immersion that leaves you feeling integrated into a warm, welcoming community.
Photo is taken from the website of Public Radio of Armenia.