. . . Over the years Armenia has developed a modern, unique and successful culture. Many aspects of the culture are based on the geography, literature, dance, and music of the people. The culture is similar and yet distinct from many of the bordering countries like Russia, Georgia, and Iran as well as Mediterranean nations such as Greece, and Italy. Armenian culture has strong influences from both its Eastern neighbours, as well as an underlying influence from Europe to the West..
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8. In the Armenian Church this vivid ceremony is a portrayal, step by step, of the new life of husband and wife. The symbolism is striking and points to the love that is yet to be experienced in this holy union. Each of the acts performed during the service has a special meaning and significance.
After being blessed by the priest, rings are exchanged between the bride and groom, giving expression to the fact that spouses in marriage will constantly be complementing each other. Each will be enriched by the union. During the exhortation to the bride and groom and later on in the service, the right hands of the bride and groom are joined to symbolize the oneness of the couple.
9. The crowning is the climax of the wedding service. The crowns are the sign of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the Sacrament. The groom and the bride are crowned as the king and the queen of their own little kingdom, the home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. At the end of the wedding ceremony the priest blesses the couple, asking Christ to "protect them under the shadow of thy holy and honorable cross in peace". Thus God’s grace is imparted to them to live together in His love, mutually fulfilling and perfecting each other.
10. It is the offering of oneself to God or the presentation of the child by the godparent and accepting his message of salvation. It is the duty of Christian parents to see to it that their children are baptized when infants. Church canons strongly advise Baptism of the child by the 8th day after birth and up until the 40th day after birth.
At the door of the church, the order of the service conducted by the priest is: Penitential Psalms, Blessing of Narod, Renunciation of Satan, and Confessions of Faith.
At the door of the church, the child is presented to the church as an offering and gift to God. The priest prepares a special cord called Narod, which is made up of two colored cords braided into one. The colors of the Narod are red and white, which symbolize sacrifice and purity, and also recall the blood and water which poured out the side of Christ.
12. With the placing of the Narod and Cross on the neck of the child, we see the action of Christ taking over the person. As the child is brought into the church the hymn Zoghormootiun ko uztoorn patz mez Der (The gate of thy mercy open unto us O Lord) is sung. Next the Godfather takes the child in his arms and he and all present shall turn facing the west (the doors of the church) and shall say together with the priest the Renunciation of Satan three times (the west is the symbol of darkness and the "side of Satan"). Following the renunciation (hrajaroom), the Godfather, the child, and all present "turn to the light of the knowledge of God." At this point the sponsor on behalf of the child professes the child’s unity to Christ, by reciting the Baptismal Creed. The conclusion of the rite at the door of the church ends with the reading of the Holy Gospel declaring the "Commission of the Apostles" followed by the recitation of the Nicene Creed.
13. Over the centuries, Armenian woman have excelled in fine needlework. At a very young age, girls worked diligently preparing their trousseau (an important part of a bride’s dowry), making lace, embroidering towels and preparing all the clothing they would wear for the rest of their lives.
14. According to folklore, when you visited friends and relatives, it was the custom to be served Surj (Armenian Coffee). In all the Near Eastern countries where Surj was served, it was the duty of the young girl in the house to prepare the coffee for all occasions. Traditionally, the girl who could not make a pot of coffee (surj) with a good foaming head on it was not worthy of a good husband!
15. THE EVIL EYE - FACT OR FICTION? One of the more colorful folk beliefs in Armenian tradition is the very real belief and fear of the "Evil Eye", a form of projected envy that can harm one. Belief in the evil eye was widespread amongst Mediterranean cultures and any individual’s misfortune was the obvious result of an ill-wisher.