Grape Blessing Festival

August 18, 2019

We celebrated and hosted one of the oldest Armenian traditions. Խաղողօրհնեք (Khaghogh Orhnek). Simply put; a Grape Blessing Festival. Originally a pagan holiday, it’s evolved into a celebration of fertility, maternity, and love.

But how do we mix tradition into our modern lives? How do we manage to pull people out of their comfort zones?

The answer? Costumes.
We asked every guest to show up in տարազներ (tarazner) while we handled the decorations. We created an environment where people felt at home. As though Armenia was only a couple steps away.

Now here’s how things went down.

We started the day with live folk music from the Ayrumyan Band featuring the classical Armenian instrument — the քանոն (qanon). In the meantime, we danced, drank, and connected.

For whoever didn’t have a traditional Armenian outfit, we hired Chinar Photography. They provided them with a costume, a picture, and most of all an experience.

Things started to pick up quickly. We moved on to baking traditional Armenian գաթա (gata) in our makeshift թոնիր (tonir). Meanwhile, the kids plucked the grapes off of the stems. Nothing better than a little friendly competition.

It was finally time for the main event. We invited a priest to bless the grapes and to kickstart the stomping.

Let the stomping begin.

Women and children of all ages began crushing the grapes. With all of that going on, we had guests of all ages cleaning the grapes, pouring them in the buckets, and stamping their footprints on custom t-shirts.

Eventually, we decided to head inside for a delicious meal. To continue the night’s festivities, Barekamutiun Dance Studio performed a youthful dance. As we sat down, Aida Sargsyan and the Ayrumyan Band continued the show.

Surrounded by music, good food, and great vibes. We ate, laughed, and celebrated our roots.

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