Նախածննդյան տոներ - Pre-Christmas Holidays


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Asia » Armenia
January 3rd 2017
Published: January 3rd 2017
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3.1

Armenian Christmas Preparation.

My NeedleworkMy NeedleworkMy Needlework

Not as delicate or elegant as the Armenian work, but will be sitting on my tree next year!
There seem to be surprisingly few events on the third, most celebrations seem to happen on the first and second, so I may be scrapping the barrel a little, but Armenia has a public holiday to celebrate the days leading up to Christmas, so this is what I decided to focus on today.

Նախածննդյան տոներ - Nakhatsenendyan toner (or Pre-Christmas) is celebrated on 3rd -5th January in Armenia and surrounding areas like Nagorno-Karabakh (a disputed territory, ethnically Armenian, internationally recognised as part of Azerbijan but mostly governed by the Nagorno-Karabakh Repuiblic). There don't seem to be any particular traditions for each of the days (at least none I could find in English or Russian - Armenian is a beautiful looking language but it's not one I can pick up in a day, sorry).

So, I had a look at the more general traditions Armenians have around Christmas time. Sure enough, I recognised a lot of them.

Armenians clean and decorate their homes at the beginning of the Christmas season. They put up a tree and decorate it with fruit, white doves and golden bows. Many Armenians* decorate their trees using the three colours of the Armenian flag (red, orange and blue) and set up a nativity. People will abstain from eating meat and dairy for the week leading up to Christmas before a lavish 'princely trout' is eaten on the day, gifts are exchanged, rooves are climbed on and sung from, and housewives display their intricate needlework.

I'm not sure how the British general public would react to me climbing out onto the roof and singing carols... they probably wouldn't bat an eyelid and just pull their curtains a little tighter closed, but seen as this is a custom for children, I decided that was a good enough reason not to do it.
So i settled on making a decoration that could be hanged on an Armenian tree. It would have a traditional image and be in the colours of the Armenian flag.

Now, my needlework is not generally on display for public viewing, being that it could be described as 'poor' or 'lacking', however - here it is. An Armenian cross, in red, blue and *cough* orange. I also listened to Armenian language carols on youtube as I made it and wrote this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLh7hZKLYh4

*http://classroom.synonym.com/armenian-culture-traditions-christmas-6379.html

PDF written in Armenian about pre-Christmas: http://www.gov.am/u_files/file/kron/toner.pdf

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