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Harissa Festival Dedicated to Great Barekendan at the Armenian Diocese in Georgia Drew To an End PDF Print E-mail
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IMG 4529On February 11, 2018, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church celebrated Bun Barekendan or Great Barekendan. The feast, celebrated on the Eve of Great Lent, was marked with the Divine Liturgies at the functioning churches of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. The one-week Harissa Festival was dedicated to Great Barekendan. The festival was organized by “Shushanik” Union of Armenian Women of Georgia, with the support of Armenian Diocese in Georgia. The festival has already become a wonderful tradition, the celebration becomes bigger and bigger every year. The festival celebrated its sixth year. This year it encompassed the A1whole diocese.

During the week preceding Great Barekendan the Harissa festivals were held in the Armenian-populated areas and villages of Georgia. In Javakheti the festival included song and dance performances by the Vachiani Ethnographic ensemble (choreographer Naslet Keyan) and the Nairi Dance Group (choreographer Lusine Mzikyan).

IMG 4633On February 11, the final stage of the festival was held and turned into a real celebration at the church courtyards of the Diocese and the Centers adjunct to the Diocese.

In Tbilisi, since morning, women were rushing to the Hayartun Center of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, bringing with them the pots with harissa. Many structures of the Armenian community in Tbilisi participated in the festival, including the Church-loving Women’s Association of the Cathedral of Saint George; the Diocesan “Saint Movses Khorenatsi” Primary School; the Saint Nerses Shnorhali Choir of the Hayartun Center; Taron and Vank Dance Ensembles; the dhol and duduk classes; members of IMG 4634“Shushanik” Union and many volunteers.

The hall was very crowded. Armenian women in appropriate attire stood beside fifty pots with rich and delicious harisa, served in the hall.

In attendance were Georgian MP David Chichinadze; Governor of Isani district Kakha Labuchidze; Deputy Giorgi Rcheulishvili; Member of Tbilisi City Municipal Assembly Ilia Jishkariani; the editor of “Vrastan” (Georgia) newspaper Van Bayburtyan; representatives of Tbilisi City Municipal Assembly and the Office of Public Defender IMG 4660(Ombudsman) of Georgia; and guests.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to Georgia, Ruben Sadoyan; his wife, and the personnel of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Georgia, also presented Armenian harissa, made by them.

The occasion was honored with the presence of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan.

President of “Shushanik” Union of Armenian Women of Georgia, Susanna Khachatryan, gave opening remarks. She highlighted that the main purpose of this feast of Great Barekendan, celebrated on the Eve of Great Lent, was to preserve and transfer this national dish, folk customs and traditions to new generations. She also mentioned that Harissa is known for helping the Armenians of Musa Dagh IMG 4682to survive during the resistance.

The speakers congratulated the attendees on the festival, wished the audience to endure Great Lent, by deriving their body strength from Great Barekendan and fortifying their faith. Pastor of the St. Etchmiadzin Church of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, Rev. Father Virap Ghazaryan blessed the pots and invited the guests to taste the traditional harissa.

The hall was filled with joyful songs and music. Cultural program included performances by individual performers, the dhol and duduk classes. More than a thousand people IMG 4700were served; blessed harisa was delivered to the ill and needy.

The Armenian Boun Barekendan holiday was celebrated with a Harissa festival at the Holy Cross Church in Akhalkalaki, the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Akhaltsikhe, at the Alexander Mantashev Educational, Cultural, Youth Center in Batumi, the St.Gregory of Narek Educational, Cultural, Youth and Spiritual Center in Rustavi, at the Rafael Javakh Educational, Cultural, Youth Center in Ninotsminda of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. Harissa - flavored atmosphere, inspired by Great Barekendan feast, was very cheerful.

The “Shushanik” Union of Armenian Women of Georgia expresses gratitude to all participants, the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia and the clergy, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Georgia, the “Bebos lavashi” company, the godfather of the Saint Etchmiadzin Church, Karen Sagsyan, individual donor Levon Mkhitaryan and all the benefactors and contributors for supporting the festival.

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