Fresno Bee , CA
Aug 31 2008

Armenians find reason to celebrate

Bee staff08/30/08 22:22:27

The Mousa Dagh Commemoration Committee in Fresno held its annual
picnic and celebration Saturday at the Fresno Police Association's
training grounds.

This year marks the 93rd year of remembrance of the Forty Days of
Mousa Dagh, a village in Armenia.

The villagers, under siege by the Turks during the Armenian genocide,
fought off the soldiers for 40 days before being saved by a French
ship passing by on the Mediterranean Sea. The celebration Saturday
began with the cooking of the Harissa, a lamb and whole wheat stew.

The event also included traditional music and dancing.

It continues today with church services at 10:30 a.m., a blessing of
the Harissa and music until 3 p.m.

The picnic began in 1978 with a few families keeping the culture alive
and now attracts between 800 and 1,000 people each year from as far
away as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Canada.