Describe how you and your family celebrate the holidays with Armenian and American traditions. What did you find surprising or fascinating in the course?
As Armenians, we celebrate the holidays with respect to the holy aspects. My family does not give gifts—we view it as a religious day. The stories and traditions behind all the holidays are what make them special for the Armenian culture.
Living in America we are encouraged to follow American traditions and American holidays, dishes, and styles surround us. As Armenians, we celebrate these holidays, but with our elaborate Armenian dishes, such as our khorovats and kufta. We love going door-to-door and welcoming our friends and families with hospitality and lots of food. Sometimes, we add on turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Christmas because it is what we see. But we stay Armenian and continue with our tradition as well.
We try not to mix Armenian and American holidays. On Thanksgiving we eat turkey, mashed potatoes and watch the Macy’s Day Parade. However, we celebrate Christmas on January 6 and try to keep it as authentic as possible. Like in Armenia, I love keeping Christmas simple and spiritual. It is not about the presents or the hustle—it is about family and religion. It is important to respect the American ways, however it is essential to keep Armenian customs alive.
When we were in Armenia, we celebrated Christmas on January 6. We would have a big white tree in the corner of our kitchen and our table would be filled with different types of food: dolma, khash, perashki, cheese, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, and more.
Our families would go from one relative’s house to another, giving each other gifts and eating dinner together. After the feast, we would dance. But when we came to America, we started celebrating Christmas on December 25th. It’s still the same celebration as when we were in Armenia, but on a different day. We also celebrate on January 6.