Tert.am, Armenia
Jan 4 2012

Residents of Jrarat village celebrate New Year in church
13:11 - 04.01.12

The village of Jrarat (Hrazdan region) is one of the few villages in
Armenia whose residents - descendents of immigrants from Khoy and Maku
- are keen on restoring ancient Armenian customs and traditions.

This year the village celebrated the New Year in church, following the
centuries-old custom to begin the year from a place of worship,
uttering prayers of thanks.

The St Karapet church of Jrarat was open to the public all day long on
December 31. As the clock struck midnight, the priest rang the biggest
bell, announcing the beginning of the new year. Minutes later, a crowd
gathered at the church to attend festive mass. After lighting candles
and praying, the people left the church to meet the Santa Claus and
the snow maiden by the New Year tree and festive table.

`To lay the table, the villagers would traditionally bring whatever
they could. The Santa Claus gave presents to around 150 children, then
spectecular fireworks followed,' the founder of the village's museum,
Armen Avagyan, told Tert.am.
He said people had a fun until morning.

Another ancient tradition that Jrarat residents have resumed is the
consecration of homes ahead of New Year or until January the 6th,, the
day the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the birth of Jesus
Christ. The tradition is a kind of message is to leave everything bad
behind and see the New Year in with a great belief, prayers and
purity. A cross-stone holder was selected from the Parish Council to
consecrate homes.

`The five-member Parish Council was re-established this year, and our
priest consecrated about 800 households together with the cross stone
holder,' Ayvazyan said.