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Behind door number 18 lies cultural Armenia, where monasteries whisper in the mountains, and Mount Ararat carries the legends of history!
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Armenia has its own very ancient Christian tradition of celebrating Christmas on January 6th, the day of the Epiphany. An interesting Christmas tradition in Armenia is the celebration of "Christmas Eve" or "Surb T'night" (Կանաչ Ծնունդ, Kanach Dznund).
Most Armenians observe a strict fasting period for the six weeks leading up to Christmas.
On the night of January 5th to 6th, believers gather in Armenian churches to attend the midnight mass and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
To symbolize the light that Jesus brought into the world light processions take place, where believers carry candles and place them at symbolic locations.
In some Armenian communities, it is customary to receive blessed water in the church, which is then brought home and used for blessing the house and its inhabitants.
Christmas is a time for families to come together. Celebrations often take place within the family circle and in the community, with traditional Armenian dishes being prepared and shared. These include "Khashlama" (hearty lamb stew) "Khorovats" (grilled meat), "Dolma" (grape leaves stuffed with meat), "Basturma" (air-dried beef), "Lavash" (thin flatbread), and sweets like "Gata" (a sweet pastry) and "Anooshaboor" (Christmas pudding).
The Armenian Christmas tradition is deeply spiritual and characterized by a strong sense of community. The combination of faith, family gatherings, and culinary delights makes Christmas in Armenia a unique and meaningful celebration.
In Armenia, Christmas is not only a time for festive decorations and contemplative moments but also a season of culinary delights. One of the traditional dishes enjoyed in many Armenian households during the festive celebrations is "Khashlama." This hearty lamb stew combines tender meat with an abundance of vegetables, spices, and herbs, making it a warming delicacy.
1 kg lamb, cut into large pieces
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, diced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Brown the lamb in a large pot with some oil until it's golden.
2. Add onions and garlic, continuing to sauté until softened.
3. Add bell peppers and tomatoes, then stir in the vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas) and the spices.
4. Cover with enough water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the flavors meld.
5. Add fresh parsley and mint, letting it simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve hot.
Enjoy your meal and happy holidays!
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