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пн, 06 янв.

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Armenia

Christmas (Surb Tsnund)

Christmas, known as Surb Tsnund in Armenian, is a significant religious and cultural holiday in Armenia, celebrated on January 6th. This date combines the celebration of both the birth and the baptism of Jesus Christ, following the ancient tradition of the early Christian church.

Christmas (Surb Tsnund)
Christmas (Surb Tsnund)

Время и место

06 янв. 2025 г., 00:00 – 23:40

Armenia

О событии

Christmas, known as Surb Tsnund in Armenian, is a significant religious and cultural holiday in Armenia, celebrated on January 6th. This date combines the celebration of both the birth and the baptism of Jesus Christ, following the ancient tradition of the early Christian church.

Historical Background

The Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, has preserved the tradition of celebrating Christmas on January 6th. This practice dates back to the early centuries of Christianity when all Christian churches celebrated Christ's birth and baptism together. Over time, Western Christianity adopted December 25th as the date for Christmas, but the Armenian Church maintained the original date.

Religious Observances

Surb Tsnund is primarily a religious holiday, deeply rooted in Christian liturgy and practices:

Theophany (Epiphany)
  • Holy Liturgy: The celebration begins with a special church service on the evening of January 5th, known as Chragaluyts (Lighting of the Lamps). This service symbolizes the light of Christ coming into the world.
  • Blessing of Water: A significant ritual called the Blessing of the Water takes place during the Divine Liturgy on January 6th. This ceremony commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. A cross is dipped into the water, symbolizing the sanctification of water, and some of this blessed water is distributed to the faithful for their homes.
Traditional Celebrations

Apart from religious observances, Armenians celebrate Surb Tsnund with various customs and traditions:

Preparations
  • Cleaning and Decorating: Homes are cleaned and decorated, often with a modest Christmas tree and other festive ornaments. Some families also set up a nativity scene.
  • Food: A central element of the celebration is the preparation of a special meal. Traditional dishes include fish, rice with raisins, ghapama (stuffed pumpkin), and an array of sweets and pastries.
Christmas Eve
  • Khetum (Christmas Eve Dinner): On the evening of January 5th, families gather for a festive meal called Khetum. This dinner usually includes dishes made with lentils, beans, dried fruits, and other non-meat items, as it precedes the breaking of the Advent fast.
Christmas Day
  • Church Service: On the morning of January 6th, families attend the Divine Liturgy and participate in the Blessing of the Water ceremony.
  • Family Gatherings: After church, families return home for a festive meal. It is a time for reunions, sharing food, and exchanging gifts.
Traditions
  • Hospitality: Armenian Christmas is a time of great hospitality. It is customary to visit relatives and friends, bringing sweets and small gifts as tokens of goodwill and blessings.
  • Caroling: In some regions, children and youth go caroling, singing traditional Christmas hymns and songs, often receiving treats in return.
Cultural Significance

Surb Tsnund is a profound and joyous occasion in Armenia, blending deep religious significance with rich cultural traditions. It highlights the Armenian people's strong connection to their Christian heritage and their customs of hospitality and community. This celebration reflects the essence of Armenian identity, where faith, family, and tradition converge to create a unique and meaningful holiday experience.

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