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Harisa Festival 2018 Kicks off in Akhkiorpi Village of Marneuli Region PDF Print E-mail

A1It has already become a beautiful tradition at the Armenian Diocese in Georgia to celebrate Bun Barekendan (or Eve of Great Lent) with a Harisa festival. And this year was no exception; however the festival became more diverse and large-scale.

On February 4, 2018, at the initiative of the “Shushanik” Union of Armenian Women of Georgia and with the financial support and assistance from the Sacristan of the St. Etchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi, Rev. Father Manuk Zeynalyan; a Harisa festival kicked27503993 off in the Armenian-populated border village Akhkiorpi of the Marneuli region.

On the previous day, Father Manuk and his wife, an active member of the “Shushanik” Union of Armenian Women of Georgia, teacher of the Saint Movses Khorenatsi Preschool, Ani Zeynalyan, arrived in the village.

27624662Here until dawn, led by the priest’s wife, the local women prepared the Armenian harisa dish.

The locals, children and adults alike, gathered in the village center. It was a kind of preholiday fuss: the women stirred harisa in the pots, cooked over an open fire, the men took care of the fire, placed the tables side by side, seniors recalled harisa prepared by the Armenians of Musaler. In the morning, after lighting candles and saying a prayer in the Holy Mother of God Chapel, built in 1861, the residents of Akhkiorpi were joined by the members of the “Shushanik” Union and the Diocesan officials from Tbilisi. Addressing the attendees, Father Manuk offered his sermon on the mystery of Bun Barekendan (or Eve of Great Lent), transmitted the blessings and congratulations of the27625307 Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia on the occasion of the harisa festival. The president of the Association of Armenian Women of Georgia "Shushanik", Susanna Khachatryan; presented the history of the harisa festival, reflected on the importance to preserve and popularize Armenian cuisine as a part of the national culture, celebrate Christian holidays and transfer national traditions and pass on the Armenian identity to future generations. She expressed hope that it will become customary in the village to celebrate Bun Barekendan (or Eve of Great Lent) with a Harisa festival.

On behalf of the locals head of the village, Grigol Atabekyan, expressed his gratitude for bringing liveliness to the village. The head of the village noted that in the distant 27628582village with many issues facing the residents every positive change is inspiring, limiting the migration.

Following the Lord’s Prayer, Father Manuk blessed salt and added it to harisa in the huge pots. The local women and girls were joined by the women who had arrived from Tbilisi and harisa was served. Women were happy, children were in a great mood, and men tasted the traditional harisa.

The guests from Tbilisi were pleased with the event, the locals were inspired by the attitude, appreciated the fact that the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia keeps his eye on the village, as well as his decision to kick off the harisa festival in the village with a three hundred year-old history, located along the Georgian-Armenian border 27709817and far away from the center. Harisa was delivered to the ill and needy, Father Manuk visited several bed-patients, brought harisa and said a prayer for healing.

The locals expressed their gratitude to Father Manuk and his wife for making their day festive. The residents of Akhkiorpi also had organized a reception.

The Harisa festival will encompass the whole diocese and is one week in duration, from February 4 to 11 similar events will be held in the Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli regions and other Armenian-populated Georgian regions. On February 11, the feast of Bun Barekendan (or Eve of Great Lent), all the Centers of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia simultaneously will hold the final celebration.

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