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“Katnapur” celebration in the village of Small Khanchali PDF Print E-mail

A1The Armenian nation has rich calendar of feasts in its rich cultural past. However, DSC05135many celebration days have been forgotten and now are left behind. The Ascension or feast of “Katnapur” (a milk-based rice soup with cinnamon and sugar) celebrates 40 days after Easter. It is an idea of Jesus Christ's Ascension in the Christian Calendar. This celebration has been preserved and still celebrates at the village of Small Khanchali, Ninotsminda region. The celebration had become a day of pilgrimage, folk celebration which expands its frameworks year by year.
Local resident, now master student of the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Armenuhi Podosyan decided to invite Youth Department of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia and artistic groups of the “Hayartun” Center to take part in the celebration. IMG 5551The project was financed by the Ministry of Culture and DSC05158Sport of Georgia. The feast is movable and it is customary at the village of Small Khanchali to celebrate it on the first Sunday of June.
On June 3, 2018, Katnapur feast was celebrated solemnly at the village of Small Khachen. The feast was attended by numerous pilgrims from nearby villages and regions. The organizers of the celebration – Director of the Youth Department of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia Valeri Badalyan, Youth programs coordinator Nina Seropova, cameraman – photographer Gevorg Poghosov and Choreographer of “Taron” Dance Ensemble Suren Abramyan joined the celebration.
IMG 5646The preparation of “katnapur” (milk – soup) started just the day before. According to tradition, the organizer grandmother and grandfather were chosen. This year feast's grandfather was Andranik Avagyan and grandmother was the author of the project. The mystery of the feast was to rise to the Holy Mountain, to light candles at the Tevatoros Chapel, to pray and sit on the opposite slope of the mountain and to tell fortune through IMG 5648vijagakhagh with the hope and expectation of making dreams come true.
A group of young people who arrived from Tbilisi joined the locals and other pilgrims at the dawn and ignoring cold and darkness rose to the Holy Mountain, lit candles in an ancient chapel, prayed and early in morning, descended down the slopes. They say that who slips on the way IMG 5647down will definitely find their happiness this year.
One of the symbols of Katnapur feast is to collect flowers and tie the biggest bouquet of the celebration called “Tsakhkamayr” (Flower Mother) and afterwards, cover with it the pail (a crock) of vijagakhakh. On the opposite slope of the Holy Mountain, near the cold spring “Tsakhkamayr” (Flower Mother) and vijagakhakh pail were waiting for those who descend from the mountain. The vijagakhakh IMG 5735(fortune telling) took place with joyful songs and quatrains, predicting hopes and dreams.
IMG 5649The festive day in Small Khanchali continued with dances at the large field. Joyful dances performed by the “Taron” Dance Ensemble of the “Hayartun” Center, singing of soloists Anna Badalyan, Aida Bazoyan were joined by performances of talented soloists, dance group, local public school’s song and dance ensemble of the village. The roundelay “Katnaghbyur” transmitted from the ancestors became dance with two and three circles performed at hillside and joined by villagers and guests… By the way, these dances are also Erzurum dances, which today are preserved only in Small Khanchali and have great cultural value. Here is the celebration of Katnapur feast in the village of Small Khanchali, Ninotsminda.
The author of the project Armenuhi Podosyan, YouthIMG 5735 Department of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia and “Hayartun” Center thanks the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Georgia for sponsoring the project.
The Katnapur feast is the same feast of Ascension (Hampartsoum) or how it people often calls – Vijagakhakh feast. This celebration was brought to Small Khanchali by IMG 5795villagers migrated and resettled from different villages of Erzurum. According to historical sources, katnapur feast was celebrating not only in Erzurum, but also at different regions of Western Armenia. In the past, on the Katnapur celebration day katnapur was cooked in all houses. Some people were burning hand knot tied with seven prayers in the fire under the saucepan of katnapur. In some places, people were cooking katnapur with groups at fields and several scoops of katnapur have been sprinkled around fields to ensure the abundance of harvest and to protect the crop from hail and harmful insects.
Today in Small Khanchali, instead of katnapur, they slaughter a lamb in the houses and cook Matagh (Thanksgiving Animal Sacrifice). In the past, from Easter to Ascension they did not cook katnapur, so that the milk of cows did not diminish and the milk soup cooked at the katnapur feast was distributed to locals and guests as Matagh.

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