Armenians have many nice traditions that come from the depths of centuries. Those traditions never lost their meaning and are celebrated exactly the same way as centuries ago. Even though Armenians do celebrate international holidays, but the ones that are traditional and are the part of Armenian’s collective memory, are celebrated with enthusiasm and more love is invested in its preparations. One of those holidays is “Hambardzman ton” (ascension day), when young girls try to predict their future. Guys follow what they do and sometimes help with the preparation. It's a very "colorful" holiday.
After the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, he still used to appear to his disciples. On the 40th day along with them, Jesus went to the top of the mount, gave them his last instructions and disappeared in the clouds. Each year people count forty days after the Easter and on the thirst Thursday after that celebrate the “Hambardzman ton” (Vichak). Of course in churches take place spacial ceremonies, but because young people think that on that day they may get a magic sign from the skies they celebrate it also beyond the walls of church. Keep reading, if you want to know how.
Legend has it “ The girl and the guy were in love. Because their parents were against their marriage they ask the God to transform them into stars and to take them to the sky. God, follows what they ask and once in a year (on “Hambardzman ton” those two stars meet in the sky and hag & kiss each other)". The evening before the holiday young girls secretly collect seven different flowers, leaves from seven different trees, water from seven different springs and sand and mix them in a clay container. Besides, they also collect other flowers to make wreaths. While preparing stuff for the next day they also sing traditional songs that are typical only for this holiday. The container with the flowers and water should stay in the open air the whole night (so the sky and the stars do their magic). It has to be in a place where no man can find it.
Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan describes “Hambardzman ton” in his poem “Anush and Saro”. Anush and Saro where lovers, but they could not marry because of the fight between the groom and the bride’s brother. In the end, the brother of the bride killed Saro. All this was predicted to happen during “Hambardzman ton”. There is also an opera on “Anush and Saro”. Should you be in Yerevan check the list of operas to be performed during your stay. You will definitely like it.
On Thursday all the not married girls get together, make a circle on the grass and put the clay container in the middle of the circle. Each of them secretly puts a small coin, earing, ring or any other personal thing in the container. They ask a random kid to approach the container and to pick random items from there asking: “what should happen to the owner of this item?”. Another kid, with closed eyes, randomly picks any quatrain from Hovhannes Tumanyan’s Anush poem (all of those are about love) and what’s written there most probably will happen to the owner of the item in the future. After each quatrain, everybody sings.
There are many traditions like this that are followed in Armenia but “Hambardzman ton” is very much liked by young girls who are in love or in search of love. Of course, we understand that it's kind of a game and the quatrains can not predict the future, but still it's fun to try. Many people celebrate this in their gardens/privately, but if you are in Yerevan on this day there are places where it's celebrated with all the old traditions in public like the city of Yeghvard or Jrashen village. Also, you can meet many people in different parks celebrating this beautiful holiday.
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