Rahul Shankar

NDTV /showflipped.aspx?id=FLIEN20080037939
Jan 7 2008

The dwindling Armenian community in Kolkata has kept the same age-old
tradition of following the Julian calendar alive.

It's Christmas time, it may sound quite unusual but it's a fact. We
may be a week into the New Year but the festive season has just begun.

At least for the 120-odd Armenians in Kolkata, who have their own
take on celebrating Christmas days after the rest of the world has.

"Traditionally, Christmas was celebrated on January 6. During the
Pagan era, there was a celebration of light on December 25 and people
are still celebrating that tradition. The Armenian Church has however
kept the tradition that way because it made us unique," said Father
Oshagan Gulgulian, Priest at Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth.

Nora Aratoon, an Armenian said, "There is no exact proof to the exact
date of Jesus's birth. So on December 25, we go to your churches,
clubs, parties and jollifications and on January 5 and 6, to ours.

It's like celebrating Christmas twice a year."

The morning prayers over, the action shifts to the lawns of the
Armenian Sports Club at the Maidan. Armenians show up in their Sunday
best to exchange greetings. And it's a special moment for some who
are back in town after a long, long time.

"I've returned after 50 years to celebrate Christmas. There has been
a lot of change. In fact, the whole world has changed in the past 50
years. I feel very nostalgic to be here and be a part of the Armenian
community. It means a lot to me emotionally since I was born here,"
said Sarkis Stephen, an Armenian expat.

Christmas on January 6. You may call it out of time or queer, but
for the Armenians at large it's a date with history and tradition
that have clearly stood the test of time.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress