Each year, a week before the feast of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ Armenian church celebrates the Palm Sunday- the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Tsaghkazard is a religious and much liked holiday in Armenia, like all the other Christian holidays (Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. According to statistics 95% of Armenians are Christians).
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and a huge crowd of people gathered to meet him. They put their cloaks and branches of palms on the path he had to pass through meantime saying: “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the Name of the Lord”.
Tsaghkazard translated means "decorated with flowers". On the Palm Sunday, the churches are decorated with flowers as well as with branches of willows. The ceremonies for Tsaghkazard take place in all the churches of Armenia (of course not in the abandoned ones). There are no priests who serve in the abandoned and destroyed churches, though many people go to churches lake that, put flowers or willow branches there thus making the church lively.
Streets seem to be covered with voile of happiness and smiles. You can meet many people wearing wreaths made of willow branches. They either take the blessed branches from the church or buy those and go there to get a blessing. This holiday reminds us of the coming of Christ and gives an opportunity to everyone one more time to look towards the Jesus.
Besides the wreaths, people also buy wheat spikes that symbolize good harvest. The wreaths and wheat spikes left from the previous year are usually burned and new ones are kept in the house for one year, till the next Palm Sunday.
According to Armenian Apostolic church calendar it will be celebrated on the following dates: 2030.04.14, 2029.03.25, 2028.04.09, 2027.03.21, 2026.03.29, 2025.04.13, 2024.03.24, 2023.04.02, 2022.04.10, 2021.03.28, 2020.04.05, 2019.04.14, 2018.03.25. If you are in Armenia on any of these days join the celebrations.
Besides, on the same day there is a special ceremony called "Blessing of kids", after which many open air concerts take places in different towns of Armenia, where kids from local dance ensembles and musical schools perform their skills and make the holiday real. All of them happily wear the willow wreaths.
Faithful people in Armenia do believe that celebrating Tsaghkzard- the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem will bring happiness and good luck will enter their houses filling their hearts with warmth and with hope towards the future.
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