Orhnyal e Haroutyounn Krisdosi
Easter (Zatik) is the favourite and the most anticipated holiday in the Christian world. Everybody greets each other on this day with “Christ has arisen”-“Blessed is the resurrection of Christ”. During the Lenten fasting season of 40 days before Easter, Armenian families put lentils or other sprouting grains on a tray covered with a thin layer of cotton, and keep it in a light place of the house until Easter when sprouts appear. These green sprouts, symbolizing spring and awakening of nature, are the “grass” on which people place colored eggs to decorate the Easter table.
To the present day, Armenians have preserved the beautiful biblical lore which refers to red eggs and cheorek (sweet bread): “When Christ was crucified, his mother took some eggs and bread wrapped in the shawl. When the Mother saw her Son crucified and his arms bleeding, she knelt down and cried. The Mother’s tears and Son’s blood mixed as they dropped onto her shawl. Since then, people began coloring eggs red on Easter day and women began wearing shawls when visiting church. To achieve the dark red color, the peels of the purple onion are boiled with the eggs. This represents fertility and new life, the result of a sacrifice.
One popular food during the period of Lent is vospov keufteh. Keufteh is a dish that consists of ground meat, bulgur and seasoning. During the observation of Lent the ground meat, in this dish, is substituted with lentil beans or vosp, in Armenian. However, Easter day is marked traditionally with meals of fish or lamb, rice, and lavash. Fish are usually either fried or boiled. Rice is usually made with raisins and dried fruits and is served with lavash (Armenian national thin bread).
A fun tradition is the “Tak-A Tok” or the egg fight, wherein you try to crack the egg of your opponent. Children roam with eggs in their hands and pockets, “fighting” with each other. The one who cracks the other’s egg owns it. In order to gather more eggs, sometimes children cheat and make mock eggs from stone, wood or paraffin. Apparently a nail polish coating will make the real egg less likely to break.
A recipe for the traditional Armenian Easter cookies is found here: http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/entertainment/the_assistant/?p=1105
A recipe for the tradtional Armenian cheureg is found here: http://www.elementalcustard.com/pages/Cheoreg.php
Fun Easter egg traditions from around the world: http://www.easterbunnys.net/eggs.htm