okay to plan a wedding in May, but many believe
it's bad luck to marry in this month.
On typical weekends in the center of Yerevan
the noise of blaring car horns circling Republic
Square signal the joy of matrimony as young couples
celebrate their wedding day.
The horns, however, haven't been heard for several
weeks now. And it isn't because of the construction
that has closed down the square.
It is because of the month. May, the "bad
"In May we have few customers, it is very
noticeable. It is a beautiful month, and it is
surprising that people avoid getting married,"
says designer of Narcissus wedding salon, Arpi
It is the peak of spring, of blossom and bloom
of real and metaphorical sort, yet marriage vows
are silenced in favor of superstition.
At Svetlana, one of Yervan's popular wedding
salons, the proprietor says May is a dead month
for the wedding business. Why?
"It is an old, primeval tradition that got
into people's heads," says Svetlana Petrosyan.
"And they believe that 'mayis' (May in Armenian)
means 'vayis' (bad month). Every year we have
no more than one couple."
Armenia's May wedding boycott is partly to blame
on a phrase handed down by the Russians:
"Marrying in May means suffering your whole
life," so the saying goes.
So with 11 other months to choose from, most
Armenians simply save their nuptials for a month
to which no slander has been attached.
Except they don't really have 11 other months.
The Armenian Orthodox religion does not sanction
weddings during the Church's Great Fast, for 50
days beginning in March.
Candidate of historical sciences Armine Stepanyan
says that not celebrating weddings in May is connected
with not celebrating them in spring in general.
No weddings were celebrated during this period
in Armenia, and this was peculiar to all ancient
"People started celebrating weddings in
autumn and continued the whole winter, till the
great Fast," Stepanyan says, adding that
they stopped for Fast and the remainder of spring.
Armenian Apostolic Church doesn't forbid marriage
in May. Clergyman of the Church of Blessed Virgin,
Father Yeghishe Karsyan says that this is a wrong
tradition, which people follow senselessly and
"Wedding ceremony is not allowed during
the Fast, but quite contrary takes place. In May,
which is not a period of fast, nobody marries,
but at the beginning of spring, when usually the
Fast stops, marriages start too," says the
So it would seem then that the blessing of the
Armenian Church is not enough to counter the curse
of a Russian legend, making streets a little quieter
and priests and dressmakers and videographers
and banquet halls and honeymoon suites a lot less
busy during the "bad" month.
"I become terrified, when I recall May 28
of 1996," says 27-year old Marine Grigoryan.
"My parents, against my will, had decided
to celebrate my wedding on that day. My life did
not go well. One year later my first son was born,
but he died. In 1998 my second son was born, but
I never felt amenities of home life."
After three years Marine got divorced. She got
married for the second time, but again something
went wrong. She blindly believed that the only
reason of her bitter fate was getting married
Her's is a deep-rooted if mis-guided fear, held
by enough here to have an impact on businesses
such as Petrosyan's.
The wedding planner no doubt would be happy to
see the veil lifted on fear of commitment in May.
"Those get married in May who are free-thinkers
and understand that May is the real month for
weddings," she says. "Everything is
blooming, including feelings. People at last feel
good after long winter."
Still, it has been a very quiet May in the wedding
halls of Armenia.