The Actions of Armenia’s Fruits
The agriculture and food sector in Armenia has always been rather well developed. One of the reasons is a poor development of the industrial sector and a stronger evolution of agriculture. The specific geographical location and the warm climate of the country have given an opportunity to grow a great variety of fruit and vegetables. These ones have received an appraisal all over the former Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the importance of fruit in the Armenian culture has been identified long before the existence of the Soviet Union. One of three colors that are illustrated on the Armenian flag symbolizes the color of the most famous fruits in the country, which is an apricot (USA International Business Publications 178).
An apricot, a pomegranate, a grade, and other fruit have more than solely an agriculture meaning for Armenian people. Moreover, they have become an irreplaceable part of the Armenian culture, traditions, and customs, which have survived till present days. Some of these fruits carry a very specific meaning for Armenian people. They symbolize a struggle of Armenians for their cultural identity. Other fruit like pomegranates have become the symbols of wedding; and they are used in various rituals. One may also find a connection between the fruit and Armenian beliefs in the Bible. They are reflected through celebrations and holidays.
Armenians conduct annual fests, which are dedicated to the rich harvest. The great popularity receives a wine festival where people celebrate the good crops of grapes and drink grape juice as well as wine. All these fests are an essential part of the Armenian culture, which has been shaping during the centuries and exists even today. The role of fruit in Armenia is not limited by agriculture benefits. However, they are also viewed as an important aspect of the cultural identity. Such fruit as a pomegranate and an apricot are not simply a tasty stuff for Armenia. They represent a particular symbolic meaning for the Armenian culture that takes its roots from ancient times. Throughout many ages, the country has valued and honored these fruit during festivals and numerous traditions.
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A pomegranate is a very symbolic and significant fruit for the Armenian culture. One of the famous ancient legends says that it has been a guardian protecting people from evil eyes (Petrosian and Underwood 327). That is why this fruit is viewed as a symbol of protection and safety against bad spirits or any intentions of bad people. However, except the protection, the pomegranate has also another meaning as it symbolizes fertility. For example, in Western Armenia, there is a wedding tradition that is tightly connected with this fruit (Petrosian and Underwood 329). To be more precise, a bride should throw it and break it into pieces. According to this tradition, the scattered seeds indicate that this woman will have a baby. In the eastern part of Armenia, there is another custom with the same fruit that states the following fact. If a woman wants to have a son, she has to make the special bread from dough and pomegranate´s seeds. According to this custom, this female who eats such bread will have a son. In fact, the pomegranate is widely used as an iconic ornament and could be found in numerous manuscripts and carvings on stones. Another wedding tradition that has a particular connection with this fruit is to present the dried fruit that is called taratosik in the Armenian culture (Grigoryan, Hakhnazaryan, and Afranaa Kwapong 88). After a wedding, a bride should give the taratosik to an unmarried woman as a symbol of blessing.
Besides the traditions and ornament usage, the pomegranate has also a very specific meaning for Armenian people. One could find the full concept of this fruit for the Armenians in the art film The Color of Pomegranates. It is directed by Sergey Paradjanov (Petrosian and Underwood 257). This film has a very symbolic scene where a red pomegranate lies on a table. The fruit’s wrinkled skin and fresh pulp symbolize the strength of the Armenian spirit and its unbreakable soul.
Today, the pomegranate has become one of the most frequently used symbols in Armenia. If one visits an exhibition that is dedicated to the Armenian art or the painting gallery with the works of Armenian artists, he/she will surely find at least few illustrations of this fruit. The pomegranate has also become an inherent part of the Armenian cuisine and has turned into a national cliché. At souvenir shops, one may find various figures of the pomegranate made of ceramic, metal, wood or any other material.
The great importance of this fruit can be found in the national fairy tales. For example, one of these fairy tales says that three pomegranates fell to the earth from the heaven. One was for a teller, the second one was for a listener, and the third one was for the entire world. As one can see, in this story, the pomegranate symbolizes a gift from the heaven (Petrosian and Underwood 277). Hence, this fruit may be also viewed as a sacred one for Armenian people because it demonstrates the connection with the God.
After a terrifying event that occurred in Armenia and is known in the history as the Armenian Genocide of 1918-1923, the pomegranate has started to be used as a symbol. It describes the great variety of Armenian emotions, such as hope and sorrow, survival and rebirth, death and life. One can state that the pomegranate has become more than a simple fruit, which is specific for this location. It has become a real symbol uniting old traditions and new feelings that Armenian people have experienced. For every Armenian, the pomegranate has its own meaning revealing the slight tones of the Armenian soul.
In spite of the significant meaning of the pomegranate for the Armenian culture, there is one more fruit being even more important. An apricot is truly a soul of the Armenian culture. The botanical name of this fruit is Prunus Armeniaca, which indicates its origin (Grigoryan, Hakhnazaryan, and Afranaa Kwapong 90). Nevertheless, the motherland of the apricot is not Armenia, but China. This fruit had been delivered to Armenia long ago. It has become a symbol of this nation. In the middle ages, the kings used the apricot color, which is called tsirani, on their banners (Petrosian and Underwood 223). If one wants to receive the apricot color, he or she should mix yellow, pink, and orange colors. This specific color is such what Armenians call tsirani or the apricot one (Petrosian and Underwood 224). Today, tsirani is one of three colors that are illustrated on the Armenian flag.
In July, when it is the time to gather apricots, Armenians hold an annual festival being dedicated to this fruit. People all over the villages bring the best apricots to the capital where the festival is held (Grigoryan, Hakhnazaryan, and Afranaa Kwapong 97). Farmers bring apricots in large straw baskets and offer everyone to try them. In addition, people bring various dishes, beverages, and alcohol drinks that are made from this fruit. The point of this fest is to treat others with fruit and make people happy tasting other person´s food. During this day, all Armenian food and drinks are replaced by apricots. People eat apricots, treat each other with these fruit, demonstrate their rich harvest, and have good time together.
However, besides the apricot of the tsirani color, there are also green apricots, which are not ripe yet. Children love them though they have a very vinegar taste and hard flesh. In the middle of the ripe, the apricot lays a kernel covered with a hard shell. If one breaks this shell, he or she may taste a delicious kernel adored not only by children, but also by adults. This kernel is used in dishes as a special spice, which gives the picante taste to food.
Armenian Harvest Festival
In spite of the differences in cultures and traditions, all countries all over the world have one festival. It is annually celebrated in autumn or in the end of summer being a Harvest Festival. Armenians also have a fest that is dedicated to the rich harvest and dates back to pagan traditions. Despite the fact that Armenians are Christians and have become one of the first Christian countries, they still have some pagan fests like Vartavar (Grigoryan, Hakhnazaryan, and Afranaa Kwapong 92).
Vartavar or the Festival of Roses is celebrated 14 weeks later after the Easter. This fest is dedicated to the goddess Asdghig, an Armenian deity of love, fertility and water (Petrosian and Underwood 317). This day, people show their appreciation to the goddess and sprinkle each other with water and leaves of roses. Hence, this fest is also known as a water festival because of this joyful tradition.
Before Armenians adopted Christianity, they celebrated the New Year this day. The Fest of Harvest demonstrated the end of the year and the preparation of the nature for a long dream before spring. The Armenian New Year which is called Navasart-Amaor being celebrated on August 1-6 (Holding 117).
The celebration of Vartavar differs depending on the region of the country. For example, the Armenian Meliks celebrate this day with fruits and provide rituals in the field (USA International Business Publications 156). They have a tradition that a person may send apples to a future broom or bride as a sign of his or her intentions. In district Koghtn, people made rituals in the fields with the green weed being previously budded (Holding 126). Some other regions have districts, which are connected with domestic animals.
In spite of the old traditions of this fest and the baptism of the Armenian people, the Harvest Festival did not lose its importance in society. However, it is celebrated today more as a custom than a religious ritual. Nevertheless, the main idea of this fest still exists. It is the celebration of good harvest and joyful time-spending during this day.
Another important fest for the Armenian people is the Blessing of Grapes held after the Divine Liturgy. This ceremony has a significant religious meaning and shows an important role of the Virgin Mary in Christianity. The custom of Blessing the Grapes is referred to the Old Testament tradition of celebrating the harvest. Grapes were the first fruit during the harvest. Thus, they have such an important meaning. The first fruit symbolize the connection with the God because it was the first fruit that the God had given to people. Jesus Christ was the first son of the Virgin Mary or her first fruit. Hence, first grapes symbolize the birthing of Jesus Christ, who gave his life to save all people. To return this duty, people bless this fruit in a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.
Armenian Wine and its Symbolism
As one can see, Armenia is a country that is full of symbolism and traditions that should be strictly followed. Such drink of gods as wine also bears its symbolic meaning. It is highly valued in Armenia. In fact, this country is acknowledged to be such a country of wine having a very rich history of winemaking (Petrosian and Underwood 318). In addition, one should mention that Armenia was the country that had taken on wine exporting. This activity is believed to start when Forefather Noah planted the grape in the slant of Mount named Ararat, according to the Biblical legend (USA International Business Publications 98).
According to the Biblical story about Noah, this drink was a kind of reward for him and his companions for all the torments that they had to overcome in the period of the great flood (USA International Business Publications 178). As it can be seen, the symbolism of wine for the Armenian culture has Biblical roots. First and foremost, it is a so called reminder about the great flood. Besides, in the Armenian culture, wine is represented as the blood of Christ who died for human sins (USA International Business Publications 179). However, it is not only the wine that is so symbolical for Armenians. In fact, grapes are a serious symbol for Armenia. Each year, grapes are blessed at the Altar. Today, this activity is a religious ritual that is devoted to the Virgin Mary. It is called the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Holding 145).
The scientists state that such a phenomenon as winemaking in this Caucasian country has the history that is about six thousand years (USA International Business Publications 181). The reason for such statement is that archeologists have discovered a nucleus of grapes in the country being further analyzed for numerous times. The researches have showed that the hypothesis of scientists concerning the winemaking in the valley of Ararat has a very old history. It goes for ages being actually trustworthy (USA International Business Publications 178). The archeologists have found out this information. The reason is that they have discovered various kinds of winemaking equipment, including tares, with the remains of wine. Besides, the grape nucleus has been found in the caves that are situated near the village that is called Areni (USA International Business Publications 178). The above mentioned researches have been conducted by a group of people from such countries as America, Ireland, and, of course, Armenia.
As one can see, Areni village is extremely popular in Armenia since the grape nucleus was found there. As a result of such popularity, this village has become a place where one of the most famous Armenian festivals takes place. This fest is called the Wine Festival and is held every year there (Holding 145). The event has already become a traditional one. People from all the country come to the village to enjoy the festival. In fact, this traditional wine fest gives attendants a great opportunity to get to know more about Armenia, its wine and traditions, as well as to spend the time perfectly. Moreover, one can not only attend the Wine Festival, but also take part in it. The attendants have a chance to taste various Armenian wines, mostly the best ones. The reason is that the festival is about the best wines in the country. All the wines that are usually represented at the Armenian Wine Festival are highly valued in lots of European countries.
The Wine Festival in Areni opens with a spectacular, colorful, and bright parade of the best wine manufacturers. The parade is accompanied by songs and dances. The program of the festival is very interesting, entertaining, and vivid (Holding 151). The first stage of the famous Wine Festival is a ceremony of its opening. After the start, visitors can see the fair of the best wine manufacturers in Armenia. At the fair, both professional and public tasting of wine takes place.
In order to give a guest an opportunity not only to drink but also eat or have a snack, the best restaurants of the whole country provide traditional dishes of Armenia. Surprisingly, the Armenian Wine Festival is also used as a pleasant place for various meetings on business.
The entertaining program of the fest includes national dances and music, various theatrical performances, different games, and contests. In addition, amateur art groups can take part in the festival, show their art and entertain the publicity. Among numerous contests that take place at the event, one may outline the most important one. It is called Armenia in your Eyes (Holding 156). The participants of this contest compete for a label of the best wine in Armenia. The prize for a winner of this contest is known as Gold Keg (USA International Business Publications 98). The other popular contest is almost the same one as previous but stands among manufacturers of homemade wine.
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Taking into consideration all the above mentioned information and facts, one can see that symbolism is a very important aspect for the Armenian culture. Being a country of wine, Armenia has done its best to praise one of the most important drinks in a proper way. The symbolism of wine takes its roots from Biblical events. Indeed, according to some legends, it is even considered that a goat disclosed a riddle of winemaking to Noah. The legend says that this animal ate the wide plods of grapes and become intoxicated started goring other animals. After this occasion, Noah planted the grapes at the Mount Ararat and produced wine from the juice of plods (USA International Business Publications 98).
Armenia is a country with the rich historical legacy, traditions, customs, and rituals. I learn much about the importance of values and traditions in the state and how they are connected with fruit. The Armenians do their best in order to keep their culture, traditions, language, customs, and so on. This nationality never refuses its culture and traditions. Armenia is located between Europe and Asia. Thus, I believe it has embodied the features of both civilizations, which have shaped the Armenian culture in a harmonious way. Armenian traditions and customs have a strong connection with an agricultural sphere. Even the Armenian flag has the color of the most popular Armenian fruit, i.e. apricot. I think this symbolic meaning illustrates a significant role of fruits for this country. One may list numerous traditions, which are connected with the fruits; for instance, the tradition to present a pomegranate after the wedding as a blessing. The pomegranate is another fruit, which has a sacred meaning for the Armenian culture. Armenians symbolize this fruit with the soul of their people. The red juice is the blood and the tragedies, which Armenians faced in the past.
In spite of the dramatic history and the horrible events, the Armenians have not lost their humanity. As always, they demonstrate their wide and generous soul during celebrations of fests. Nowadays, there are two big festivals, which still have a great popularity among people. They are the Harvest Festival and the Wine Festival. In fact, both fests are dedicated to the rich harvest. However, it is oriented on all fruit and vegetables, while the wine festival is dedicated solely to grapes and wine. The harvest festival is also known as a fest of water and roses. The reason is that it is dedicated to the pagan goddess. During this fest, people sprinkle each other with water and spend good time.
Despite the fact that there were other fruit suppliers, the Armenian fruits have been always praised higher. The reason is that of their delicious taste and king size. As a result, the great bountifulness of fruits has given life to numerous customs and traditions, which developed harmoniously with the culture rise. The most popular fruits have become the national symbols of Armenia. They are associated solely with this country.
I think that Armenia is a very religious country, which obeys its traditions carefully from generation to generation. Every aspect of their life is full of symbols and a specific meaning known for those, who learn more about this state. The rich history, dedication to traditions, and obeying old customs are things that make Armenia so different from any other country in the world.