|Sweet, salty dreams
Each year before the Day of St. Sargis Manush
Soghomonyan and her friends prepare for one of
the year's most mysterious and interesting traditions.
"Just like many youngsters, every year I'm
impatiently waiting for this day," says 16
year-old Manush. "It's a day which can reveal
many secrets of your future."
This year the Day of St.Sargis in Armenia is
celebrated February 7. It is sort of like Valentine's
Day, but with Armenian nuances.
According to folklore, the mighty military leader
St.Sargis fell in love with the daughter of a
Greek king. He stole the girl, and in order to
escape his pursuers started a severe blizzard.
In so doing, St. Sargis became something like
the patron saint of young love. It is told that
there is always wind on St. Sargis Day.
Commemoration of the day includes church services
in which young people are blessed. But what makes
the day unique is the custom of making and eating
"Salt bread is an Armenian tradition coming
from old times," says ethnographer and doctor
of historical sciences Zhenya Khachatryan. "It
gives a chance for single young men and women
to see in their dream who's chosen for their life."
According to the tradition, on the eve of St.
Sargis Day, the unmarried should fast all day,
then eat salt bread -- a round-shaped small and
very salty bread which has to be prepared by either
a middle aged, kind housewife who is happy in
her marriage and believes the sacrament of the
day or by the family's grandmother.
The recipe of salt bread is very simple. It is
made from flour, salt and water without yeast
or other additions. Those who wish to can have
the salt bread or its components blessed at church.
"Salt bread has no ritual meaning,"
Khachtryan says. "The bread is meant to make
one thirsty, which, people say, brings about the
By staying hungry during the whole day youngsters
have salt bread before going to bed and then keeping
the feeling of strong thirst they go to sleep
without drinking water and without saying anything.
According to the tradition on that night St.
Sargis intercedes to God and with his help shows
the younger ones their future wife or husband.
Whoever offers water to a young man or a woman
in their dream will become their future wife or
husband. If a young man or a woman does not see
anyone in a dream, they should not be discouraged,
since according to the ethnographer, it can take
years for the longed for dream to come.
"I had salt bread last year, but in my dream
I saw a sea and no one offered me water,"
says Karine Khachatryan. "I'll try this year.
Maybe I'll be lucky and will see my future husband."
"I deeply believe the tradition of salt
bread, since thanks to it my mother saw my father.
So having that faith for many years I would eat
salt bread, but with no result," says 25
year-old Yeva Smbatyan. "But two years ago
I saw him in a dream, the long waited one. The
young man approached me and offered me a martini
instead of water."
Yeva says even though that was a strange offer
in a dream, nowadays such a dream can be accepted.
"I almost forgot about my dream and never
took it seriously until I met him, the chosen
one," says Yeva. "He was wearing the
same clothes and offered that we go to some bar.
We hardly sat there when he, Emil, order a martini
for me without even asking. Can you imagine? Maybe
that tradition is more of a clan thing in our
family, I don't know, but my boyfriend and I are
together for more than a year and are going to
get married in the nearest time. So that night's
dream had great meaning."
Ethnographer Khachatryan says that just like
the sacrament of salt bread dreams have their
own history and comments.
"In the morning younger ones wake up and
start discussing their dream with the elder ones
of the family. It is also a tradition." says
Khachtryan. "If the chosen one has offered
water in a golden cup, then they'll have a wealthy
and well-provided family. If the water is clear,
then the family will be honest, if it's muddy
there will be difficulties and cheating in the
family and so on. This day has different moods
and different stories; however the important thing
is people's faith which serves as a beginning