Sunday, March 28, 2010

They say there are two Armenias, Yerevan and the rest of the country. The same can be said about the people of Armenia...the normal, traditional Armenian and the new breed promoted on television and slowly seemingly becoming the norm. The latter I saw at the National Music Award show on Friday, with men/boys wandering the halls and behind the stage, men with strange hairstyles and blank expressions, at times making one wonder if they were men or women. The women, to put it mildly, weren’t the kind one would want to marry.

My faith in Armenians was somewhat restored the next evening, at a wedding held in Yerevan. A friend decided to have a traditional Armenian wedding for her daughter...thus the preparations began at our house, with Hasmik preparing a Tree of Life, along with purchases of apples, grapes, pomegranates, wheat, and wheat seed.

The wedding was, unfortunately, unusual for Yerevan these days. There were no stars invited to lip synch for $1,000-$3,000 (why Armenians have sunk to this, I don’t know), no professional actor was hired as toastmaster (a cousin of the bride, who naturally knew the family well, served quite well as toastmaster), only traditional Armenian dances were danced (no Baku-style dancing), and a segment of a traditional Armenian wedding was performed by Hasmik and Aleksan, aided by Shoghaken kanonist Karine Hovhannisyan.

After the wedding, a cousin of the bride came up to me and said that, due to the good, traditional atmosphere, his 82-year-old father had gotten on the dance floor and danced for the first time in 20 years. Also, after midnight, and as guests were leaving, several youth commented to Hasmik that they’ve never been to such a wonderful wedding, and began asking her about the meaning of the Tree of Life, the green and red ribbons, the traditional dancing...

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