Tag Archives: ancient

Bringing Rain with Bourbadig

Նուրին Նուրին էկել է

Շալէ շապիկ հագել է,

Կարմիր գօտիկ կապել է.

Մեր Նուրինին փայ տվէք,

Տաշտերով ալուր բերէք,

Մաղերով ջուր բերէք,

Մեր Նուրինին կշտացրէք,

Ուտենք-խմենք, քեֆ անենք:


Nourin Nourin has come

Wearing a shirt and scarf

Red belt tied on

Give our Nourin her share

Bring her flour

Bring her water

Feed our Nourin

Eat, drink, and let’s have fun!



Made from a broom of twigs, the handmade doll called Nourin was in the hands of the village children as they sang such songs and walked from street to street, gathering ingredients to make gatnajash (today known as gatnabour or rice and milk pudding) and enjoy their day. The women of the village would give the eggs, flour, etc., and follow up by pouring water over the heads of the children.

At one point, this doll personified the rain-bringing goddess of water. The doll was made in the summers when droughts were common, in order to entice the rains to water their fields. Today, the doll still exists as part of Vartivar, even though the origins of this celebration can be tracked to the goddess Astghik. Churches give out wheat during Vartevar in order to keep the fields free of disasters. In order days, this would also be accompanied with dance, song and games to bring down the rain.

Nourin was a goddess who represented a strong matriarchy, but often also took on the image of a man. The spirit bore many names, including Khourtsgululu, Houchgululu, Mama-Chttig, Chichi-Mama, Chamcha-Khatun, Boubladig, Bourbadig, etc. Today, boubrig is the Armenian name for doll, coming from its olden name Bourbadig. Some of these names could have been derivations of colloquial words meaning beautiful. In Kghi, she was kalled Boubladigin; in Van, she was Khuntsgululu and Khourtsgululu; she was Nourin, Khushgururig or Khuchgururig in Shirak and Bayazet; in Aparan, she was Houchgururu, while in Arabkir` Mama-Chttig; in Garin, Agnoum and Armashum, she was Chichi-Mama, while in Akhalkalak he was Bourbadig. Whereas Eastern Armenians called her Nourin, he was Bourbadig or as a female form using the other names for the Western regions.

Nourin has also morphed over time into Nouri and Nari, then Nar or Nay. Today, many Armenian songs include “Nay-Nay” or “Hoy Nar” which may seem like jibberish to the modern individual but are actually words passed down over the centuries which were used to describe one god or another, while asking for a blessing.

(Սամվել Մկրտչյան. <<Տոներ: Հայկական ժողովրդական ծեսեր, սովորույթներ, հավատալիքներ (ավանդույթ և արդիականություն))


Armenian Martial Arts

During the Soviet Union, Kokh began to fall out of usage. Until at least 1988 Kokh has been practiced in the rural areas of Armenia. The popular Soviet combat system Sambo, was intensely influenced by the Armenian Kokh. Today modest attempts are made to preserve this ancient Armenian martial art.

There exist two main types of Kokh, one known as “Lori Kokh” the other “Shirak Kokh”. The main difference between the two styles concern grabbing rules and outfit. In Shirak Kokh wrestlers are topless wearing only traditional Armenian pants and are allowed to grab the legs of the opponent. In Lori Kokh, fighters wear traditional robes and have to grab the opponents robe to throw or push them out. In the ancient times Kokh was common during weddings. Two fighters from the sides of the bride and groom would wrestle each other.


The person who first throws the opponent on his back (thus performing the “kokh”) without boosting and/or turning him, wins. The victor has to hold the opponent to the ground by pressing with his knee. Pushing the opponent out of the mat, which has a radius of 7-9 meters,[5] also results in winning. Although there is no time limit, a Kokh fight usually lasts from 5 to 10 minutes. Every fight starts with a ceremonial warm-up dance, lasting for at least half a minute. The fights are always accompanied by traditional Armenian folk music. According to the rules, after a successful victory, on request of the public, judges and participants the winner has to perform a traditional victory dance.




Green, ed. by Thomas A. (2001). Martial arts of the world : en encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 718. ISBN 9781576071502.

(Russian) Tyshler, edited by F.P Suslov, D.A. (2001). “Кох (Kokh)”. Terminologiia sporta : tolkovyĭ slovarʹ sportivnykh terminov : okolo 9500 terminov. Moscow: “SportAkademPress”. pp. 480. ISBN 5-8134-0047-8.

Wolfgang Decker, Wolfgang x (2007). Festschrift für Wolfgang Decker zum 65. Geburtstag.. Hildesheim: Weidmann. p. 224. ISBN 9783615003406.

Countries and Territories of the World: Volume II – Middle East & The Caucasus. p. 582

(Armenian) Ispiryan, Mikayel (1984). Մարզանունների բացատրական բառարան [Dictionary of Sports]. Yerevan: Hayastan. p. 68.

An Unknown Village

Vayots Dzor’s Hors village was repopulated in 1918 by immigrant families from Nakhichevan’s Metsop village. The village is actually quite a bit older than it’s said to be, the proof of which is the ruined palace, rich with ornaments built at it’s epicentre during the 13th century by the prince Chesar Orbelyan. It’s also known as “Chesari Darpase”. A ruined church built with pink stones and a large cemetery that is home to 13-14th century cross stones are maintained by the locals. The village is also known for beautiful waterfalls, the largest of which is in the Shran canyon.

Remind me to visit once I get there!

Hittites Spoke Armenian

In his books, Explorations in Bible Lands During the 19th Century and The Hittites, German-American Assyriologist and archaeologist Hermann Volrath Hilprecht asserts that the Hittites indeed spoke Armenian in it’s purer ancient form, today known as krapar or of a dialect akin to it.