Great is the Armenian culture. The formation of the nation starts at the end of 3rd millennium B.C. This land is supposed to be the cradle of humanity from the days of Noah. Who knows, maybe also during the days of Adam and Eve? As there is a theory of Paradise being settled in Armenian Highland.

Throughout centuries culture of this nation would become more and more beautiful. We don’t have enough information about the ancient period of Armenian history only some information saved from ancient Sumerian manuscripts.

Armenian culture of war in ancient legends

Statue of Hayk, the first representitive of Armenian culture
The statue of Hayk pre-father in Yerevan

The first epic battle of Armenian nation was in 2411 B.C. According to ancient historians after the confusion of languages people were scattered in four parts of the world.

The pre-father of Armenian nation Hayk left Mesopotamia (includes todays Iran, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel) and came to the land of Ararat mountain.

After his departure, Baal, the ruler of Mesopotamia, sent ambassadors to Hayk ordering him to come back. After the rejection, he with all the might of his army attacked Hayk on the slopes of Mount Ararat. During the battle, Baal was defeated and died by being pierced by the arrow of Hayk.

Scene from opera dedicated to Ara the BeautifulThe other legend representing Armenian culture in the history of ancient humanity is about Ara the Beautiful. According to that legend Assyrian queen Samiram (Samiramus in Syrian) fell in love with the king of Armenia.

She sends ambassadors to him asking to be his husband. After the rejection, she with all her army attacks Armenia and orders them to capture the king. Unfortunately, he dies during the battle. It is believed that duringthebattle she was standing on the mount not far from Aragats (the highest pick of Armenia, 4090 m). Locals call that Mount “Shamiram’s mountain”.

Both of these stories prove the striving of the Armenian nation for independence. It is interesting that legends show us Ara as a man of the family to such a point that he would rather die than to have the second wife during the times when polygamy had wide popularity.

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Family

As in the legend of Ara the Beautiful in pagan period Armenian man have only one wife. The same tradition was kept after 301 A.C. when Armenia adopted Christianity as a national religion. Traditional Armenian families usually had from 3 to 8 children.

Inseparable part and carrier of Armenian culture is the family.
Here we see two families. One man has a weapon to protect his family from attacks of the enemy.

The family would consist of grandmother and grandfather, their sons with their families and daughters. Because of permanent wars and bad economic situation in the area people mostly left the territory of Armenia and left to four sides of the world still keeping Armenian culture and traditions.

Were girls forced to marry according to the will of parents? No, mostly every village had its own traditions and these traditions won’t force women in any way. But in some cases, we can see how mothers-in-law interfere with the marriage of their sons by choosing brides and trying to make their acquaintance in a way they won’t understand.

For example in Gyumri mothers-in-law were climbing up to the windows of women bathrooms to see the girls and choose the best “option” for their sons.

Picture of the family was greatly changed in the 20th century when lifestyle started to change and people moved to live in cities. So for these days Armenian families mostly have 2 or 3 children and young families mostly prefer to live alone, although because of the economic situation and high price of mortgage people live with their parents.

But usually, Armenian men won’t like the idea of living with the mother of the wife and in many families, we can see “the silent war” between husband and the mother of the wife.

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Culture of marriage

Armenian culture of marriage consists of many steps. At first, after men see a girl he checks her reputation from the people who know her. Armenia is a small country so any way mutual friends will be found. Then he approaches the girl and tries to make the acquaintance if they don’t know each other.

Mostly girls don’t say “yes” to the relationship from the first time, so the guy has to work hard to prove his good intention. If everything is ok, after some time her boyfriend visits the family of girl and then their families make acquaintance.

So after all these, if they decide to marry there are three steps “Khnamakhos”, engagement and marriage, which need to be kept in Armenian culture of marriage.

During “Khnamakhos” bridegroom with parents are being guested by the family of bride and the father of bridegroom puts the ring on the finger of the bride.

“Khnamakhos” and engagement are very close with the only difference that during the last one bridegroom also gets the ring. For these days people mostly merge these ceremonies together.

Marriages are being done in churches, but before that people go to the registry office. You will find a full article about marriage soon, as this theme deserves special attention.

Food

Armenian culture of food has a deep history. Latest excavations in Areni-1 cave prove the existence of wine-making ceremonies still 6000 years ago.

Historian Xenophon writes (5th century B.C.) “There they had all the plenty of food, many animals to be butchered for the meat, many kinds of old wine mixed with barley…”.

Armenians love to make barbecue
Barbecue making

Armenian Highland plenty of drinkable water, flora and fauna give everything to locals, although the territory of nowadays Armenia covers just a small per cent of its historical territories.

Most of the traditional food is made with meat. Especially known are barbeque (Armenians call it “Khorovats”), Khash (boiled feet of a cow) and Khshlama (meat made with many vegetables). It is very important to have all the family gathered before starting to eat if it is possible.

Long ago all the families would say a prayer before starting to eat but after 70 years of Communism, most of the people lost their belief (mostly they call themself Christians but yet don’t know much about their belief).

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