Syrian-Armenians celebrated the New Year in the Homeland

Hrach Ghazarian: “May the year 2015 be declared as the year of love and peace”

Due to fate, many Syrian-Armenians have been celebrating the New Year and Armenian Christmas in the Homeland for several years now. “Hayern Aysor”’s correspondent met and sat down for an interview with the Ghazarians.

“Hayern Aysor”: Mr. Ghazarian, I congratulate you on the New Year and Armenian Christmas, wishing you and your family good health and happiness, as well as the reestablishment of peace in Syria.

Hrach Ghazarian: Thank you! Yes, it’s very important to see world peace, as well as peace in our hometown Aleppo. May the year 2015 be declared as the year of love and peace!

“Hayern Aysor”: How long have you been living in Armenia?

H. G. My family and I moved to Armenia four months ago. I have a son and a daughter. My son, Hagop, studies at the state university, and my daughter, Astghig, received her higher education in Aleppo, learned how to become a hairdresser and is working as a hairdresser here in Armenia. We were very well received in Armenia, and that’s very important for all Syrian-Armenians who left their homes and jobs due to the war and moved to Armenia.

“Hayern Aysor”: Mr. Ghazarian, had you ever thought of moving to Armenia before the war?

H. G.: Frankly, it was the war that became the reason for us to move to Armenia. I had a great job in Aleppo and earned a good living. I left my house and stores. Thank God, they haven’t been destroyed.

“Hayern Aysor”: Mr. Ghazarian, how much do you miss everything?

H. G.: I miss the land of my ancestors, the Historic Armenia, then Syria, particularly Aleppo, the New Village District of Aleppo where I used to live, my house…I have a great longing.

“Hayern Aysor”: Is there a big difference between the New Year’s celebrations and preparations in Yerevan and in Aleppo?

H. G.: Not so much. The only difference is that there is more on the table in Armenia than there is in Aleppo. As for the meals, my wife, Anita Jenanian will tell you about that.

“Hayern Aysor”: Well, as Hrach said, you’ll be talking about the meals that you prepare for the New Year, Mrs. Jenanian. How do Syrian-Armenians set the table for the New Year? What meals and pastry do you prepare?

Anita Jenanian: Yes, Hrach is right, that’s more like my “area”. I must say that the meals that Syrian-Armenians and Armenians of Armenia make are not very different. Syrian-Armenians simply prepare more meals and more pastry and different kinds. We don’t buy sweets from stores. We make them ourselves. For instance, we make pakhlava, kyunafa, ghurabia, tulumba, cold Burma…We use a lot of dried fruits, raisins, walnuts, honey, the cream of milk, pure oil and cinnamon. Thank God, we rang in the New Year very nicely in Armenia. The only thing we lacked was our relatives. My parents and brothers are with us, but many of my close ones and relatives are in Aleppo.

“Hayern Aysor”: Mrs. Jenanian, what does the Homeland mean to you?

A. J.: The Homeland is our safety.

“Hayern Aysor”: Mr. Ghazarian, how would you describe the Homeland?

H. G.: The Homeland helped us through thick and thin. The Homeland is a familiar place. Thank God, we’re safe. We live in an apartment on Artsakh Street. My children study, as well as work. We have overcome the difficulties with the Eastern Armenian language. My daughter tells me that even her co-workers try to speak Western Armenian. Everything is fine. The only thing that I would like is to have a job to purchase a house. I hope this becomes a reality in 2015.

“Hayern Aysor”: How did you feel when you first set foot on the Motherland at the airport, Mr. Ghazarian?

H. G.: I breathed the clean air, looked at the blue and peaceful sky, the panorama of the city in the distance and…got very emotional. I was in my Homeland.

Karine Avagyan

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