Harisa Festival dedicated to Boun Barekendan holiday ends at Georgian-Armenian Diocese

On February 11, 2018, the Armenian Boun Barekendan holiday was celebrated according to the calendar of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church. On the festive day preceding the Great Lent, Divine and eternal Liturgies were served in all operating churches of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia. The Harisa Week-Festival was also dedicated to Boun Barekendan and was organized by the Shushanik Union of Armenian Women of Georgia with the support of the Prelacy of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese. This festival, which has become a beautiful tradition for the Armenian community of Tbilisi, is being organized for the sixth time. The festival has been growing every year and has turned into a national celebration. This time, it was held as a diocesan event where the crowds were treated to this national dish.

Throughout the week preceding Boun Barekendan, Harisa Festivals were held in several Armenian-populated regions and villages of Georgia. In Javakhk, harisa was served to the sounds of the songs and with the performances of the songs and dances of Naslet Kehyan’s Vachian Armenian Ethnographic Ensemble and dance instructor Lusine Mzikyan’s Nairi Armenian Dance Ensemble.

February 11th marked the final stage of the festival and it turned into a real celebration in the yards of the Diocese’s churches and at the centers operating under the Diocese’s auspices.

In Tbilisi, women were rushing to bring boilers full of harisa to Hayartun Center of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese early in the morning. Among the participants of the festival were representatives of various structures of the Armenian community of Tbilisi, the union of church-loving women of the St. Gevorg Church, the St. Movses Khorenatsi Preschool of the Diocese, Hayartun Center’s St. Nerses Shnorhali Armenian Choir, the Taron and vank Armenian Dance Ensembles, dhol and duduk groups, Shushanik Union of Armenian Women of Georgia and numerous volunteers.

The auditorium was packed. Armenian women were beautifying the nearly fifty boilers and clay jugs full of juicy and tasty harisa stacked along the length of the auditorium.

Among the attendees of the Boun Barekendan celebration were Deputy of the Parliament of Georgia Davit Tchitchinadze, Chairperson of the Regional Committee of Isan Kakha Labuchidze, Vice-Chairperson Giorgi Rcheulishvili, member of the Sakrebulo of Isan region Ilia Jishkariani, editor of Georgia newspaper Van Baiburtyan, representatives of the Sakrebulo and the Office of the People’s Defender and guests.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Georgia, Mr. Ruben Sadoyan had come with his wife and the personnel of the Armenian embassy and had brought the harisa that his wife and the personnel had made.

Primate of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese, His Grace, Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan gave his blessings to the attendees.

The event began with a speech by President of Shushanik Union of Armenian Women of Georgia Susanna Khachatryan, who attached importance to the goal of the traditional event being held along with the Boun Barekendan holiday preceding the Great Lent, and the goal is to preserve and transmit to the generations this Armenian national dish, folk traditions and customs. Khachatryan also mentioned the symbol of harisa, linking it to the heroic defense of Mount Musa.

The speakers congratulated the attendees on the beautiful occasion and wished that they go through the Great Lent with body and soul. Pastor of the Holy Etchmiadzin Church of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese, His Beatitude, Priest Virap Ghazaryan blessed the boilers full of harisa, after which everyone was treated to harisa.

The attendees were treated to harisa as they listened to the performances of joyful songs and music by solo performers and members of dhol and duduk ensembles. Nearly 1,000 people were treated to the dish, and the blessed harisa was also transferred to the sick and elderly.

The Boun Barekendan holiday was celebrated with a Harisa Festival and with a big national festival at the Holy Cross Church of Akhalkalak and the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Akhaltsikhe, as well as the spiritual, educational-cultural and youth centers named after Alexander Mantashyants, St. Gregory of Narek and Rafael Javakh in Batumi, Rustavi and Ninotsminda, respectively. Everyone celebrated Boun Barekendan and was in a great mood for a long time.

Shushanik Union of Armenian Women of Georgia thanks all the participants, including the Primate of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese and the clergy, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Georgia, the Bebos Lavash Company, godfather of the cross of the Holy Etchmiadzin Church Karen Sargsyan, benefactor Levon Mkhitaryan and other benefactors for helping make the Harisa Festival possible.

Press Divan of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese

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