One, two, three and Santa Claus, seized
by the fright and hardly saving his beard,
very quickly left the crowd which went mad,
leaving his precious sack full of tarehats
at the hands of police. At the night of
January 12 the big celebration dedicated
to the Armenian Old New Year reached its
peak on Republican Square.
Numerous participants ignoring the cold
and discomfort started to crowd joyfully
and push each other.
"This day is the greatest celebration
of the New Year for all of us," says
head of the Department of Culture, Sport
and Youth Affairs of the Yerevan municipality
Arman Sahakyan, shaking from the cold, "almost
everyone celebrates December 31 at their
places and houses but during this celebration
everybody hurries to come here to celebrate
old traditional New Year on the Republican
celebration started under the lights and
symbol of the fir tree that became incredibly
beautiful from cold and snow. Almost all
stars of Armenian pop and folk music participated
in the celebration. As soon as they heard
their names they ran on the stage and the
And the showman was moving with every performer
on the stage and performing together with
them not to freeze. As a result of that
one could not sometimes even understand
who is singing, the singer or the emcee
and organizer Gevorg.
"Despite unusual things happening
the day was really festive for us. And this
year it was organized even more interesting,"
says singer Hasmik Karapetyan, "In
the celebration almost everybody without
thinking twice was taking part with joy.
It's very cold. However, there are ways
to resist it. We wear warm clothes and as
much as possible we move and jump together
with people both on the stage and out of
the stage. And in this case there is nothing
terrible at all."
"According to old Armenian calendar
January 13 is a New Year and we also tried
to keep some of old Armenian traditions,"
says chief specialist of the department
Anahit Markosyan, "the most important
is the ceremony of distributing tarehats
among people and it's not the first year
it's done so."
to ethnographers tarehats is one of the
national traditions that has the most symbolic
and interesting history. Even in ancient
Armenia a mistress of a house baked tarehats
on the New Year Eve. Tarehats, which symbolizes
past and future, is round and a little bit
sweet azyme decorated with spices and wheat
made of dough with the patterns of wheatears.
Tarehats was equally distributed among all
members of a family. The most interesting
part of that ceremony was that the mistress
always put beforehand something into tarehats
- metal coin, bead or button and the one
who found it in his piece of tarehats was
considered to be the most lucky in the family
that year. According to the tradition peace
and luck will follow that person the whole
On the square the ceremony of distributing
the luck, tarehats, started in the middle
of the celebration. For organizing the most
convenient celebration it was decided to
prepare numerous small tarehats instead
of one big.
Several Santa Clauses were standing all
over the square and distributed thousands
of tarehats among people and only in 12
of them one could find lucky beads.
"Many people know that there are beads
of luck in tarehats and if they find those
beads they will be able to get gifts like
household stuff from under the fir-tree,"
says teacher Lusine Hayrapetyan. "some
people got excited because of those gifts
and presents, however, the most important
is the luck, which is brought by those beads
and not by the presents."
For some people the ceremony was just an
entertainment and for others it was luck
of the whole coming years, which they didn't
want to miss.
"Everybody was making noise and crying
for tarehats," says student Naneh Shahnazaryan.
"They were singing and dancing not
to get cold. It is very interesting. And
Santa Clauses after being pushed and pulled
will probably recall this day with smiles."