Armenian Church Holidays

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The Holidays of the Armenian Church fall into five categories.

A. Main Holidays

These are connected to names that point to major revelations made by Christ and help us to understand the Christian values better. These main names are:

  1. Sourp Tavit Markareh (King David the Prophet) and Hagop Arakyal (James the apostle)
  2. Sourp Stepanos Nakhavga (St. Stephen the first Martyr)
  3. Sourp Boghos and Sourp Bedros Arakyal. (Apostles Paul and Peter)
  4. Srpots Vortvots Vorodman, Hovhannes Avedaranithch. (Saint John the Apostle)

All these 4 Holy Name days occur before Christmas with the intention of spiritually preparing the faithful for the messages of Christmas.

B. Holidays connected to events in Christ’s life

  1. Soup Dznount. Holy Christmas
  2. Anvanagotchoutyoun. Rembrance of the Name.
  3. Diarntaratch
  4. Mgrdoutyoun. Baptism.
  5. Dzaghgazart. Palm Sunday.
  6. Sourp Zadig – Haroutyoun. Easter – Resurrection.
  7. Hampartsoum. Ascension.
  8. Hokekalousd and Aylagerboutyoun. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit and

C. Holidays offered to the Mother of Christ.

These holidays aim at bringing to our attention the example of our Lady and her works. These holidays bear the following names:

  1. Holiday of the Virgin
  2. The feast of the good news (that the Vrigin will bear the Christ)
  3. The birth of the Holy Virgin
  4. The presentation of Jesus at the Temple
  5. The Transfiguration

D. Derouni Holidays which are connected with the Holy Cross and the Church:

  1. Kud Khatch. (The finding of the True Cross)
  2. Yerevoumn Sourp Khatchi. (The Apparition of the Holy Cross).
  3. Nor Gurage
  4. Ashkharhamadian
  5. Don Sourp Etchmiadzni. (The Feast of St. Etchmiadzin, the Holy See)
  6. Don Shoghgati. (The Feast of Shoghgat Church)

E.Holidays that celebrate Saints.

These holidays are celebrated in order to strengthen the straits exemplified by the Saints, i.e. those that stress good deeds, sacrifices, martyrdoms etc.

  1. Holidays celebrating Armenian Saints.
    1. King Drtad
    2. Hripsimians
    3. St Gregory the Illuminator
    4. Nerses the Great
    5. St Sahag and St Mesrob Mashdots
    6. Vartan Mamigonian
    7. Naregatsi.
    8. Shnorhali
    9. And many others
  1. Non Armenian Saints:
    1. The Forty Young Martyrs
    2. St. George
    3. St. Cyprianos
    4. St. Sarkis

Certain Characteristics of the Feasts:

  1. Immovable Feasts. These are the Holidays that occur on the same date every year. (E.g. Christmas which is on the 6th of January, Anvanagotchoutyoun on January 13th, Diarnntaratch, on February 14 etc.)
  2. Movable Feasts. The types of Holidays depend on lunar calendars and their calculations, which can change the dates from year to year. Another class of Movable Feasts are the ones that have to be celebrated on a Sunday, and so cannot be held on the same date every year.
  3. Daghavars (which literally means tents) are the five great Feasts of the Armenian Church:
    1. Christmas
    2. Easter
    3. Khatchverats
    4. Verapokhoum (Transfiguration of the Holy Mother)
    5. Baydzaragerboutyoun or Vartavar. (The transfiguration of Christ)

The importance of these Holidays is underscored by the fact that they are preceded by 40 day fasts and the day following the feast is dedicated to the dead when people visit the graves of their ancestors and offer prayers to their souls and ask for the blessing by the priests of their graves. (Kerezmanots)

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