Gulf News, UAE
Jan 1 2014

Armenians look forward to Christmas on January 6

Dubai's Armenian community keep up with ancient tradition

By Razmig Bedirian, Staff Reporter

Dubai: For many people, the holidays have been brought to an end with
New Year's Day. The thinning fir tree will lose its lights on its way
out, and the rest of the Christmas ornaments will soon find themselves
back in the storage room. The vibrant warmth of the festive home decor
will recede to its ordinary hue, and the drag of the months begins.

However, 12 days after 2013's Christmas, the aroma of fir still
breathes in Armenian households as they celebrate Christmas on January
6. Silver trays bearing dried figs, apricots and choreg (a sweet bread
containing raisins) can be found on the dining tables in households.

The Armenian Community in Dubai and the northern emirates unite under
the pointed dome of Sharjah's Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church,
which was inaugurated in November 1998, to pray and hear the Christmas
sermon. `Unfortunately, the Bible doesn't confirm the exact date of
Christmas,' Father Aram Deyirmendjian said.

`We believe that Christ was born and baptised on January 6.' The
parish priest of the UAE Armenians said that both dates were the
product of calculations from the day Jesus was believed to be

`While most Christians cele-brate the feast of the Epiphany [baptism]
and the birth on different dates, the Armenian Church celebrates them
on the same day,' he added.

`December 25 was originally a pagan festival, western churches set the
date at 25th to replace it,' he said. The shift from the Julian to the
Gregorian calendar also played a part in having different Christmas
dates. The Russian, Coptic and Ethiopian churches celebrate Christmas
on December 25 according to the Julian calender which falls in January
on the Gregorian calender.

Following Christmas, Deyirmendjian said he has another duty which is
to visit Armenian homes and bless them.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress