Easter Celebrations in Armenia


Armenia is the oldest Christian country in the world, adapting Christianity in 301 AD. 

The Origin of the Holiday

Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Christ rose from the dead, granting eternal life. Easter or the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is known in Armenia as Surb Zatik - Zatik means “being separated from sin”, is the celebration of the rebirth of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. Christian churches are honoring the rebirth of Jesus Christ. Easter is the attained divination of the Messiah who would be exiled, die for our sins, and rise on the third day


People like to prepare for Easter in advance. Many families will grow wheat, lentil or any grain that buds, and on the day of Easter they will put the dyed eggs on the grown grass to make them look brighter and more attractive. On the day of the Easter feast Armenians boil and dye eggs in red color, as an indication of blossoming life, liberation and bliss by means of Blood of Christ. A famous Armenian scientist and philosopher St. Gregory of Tatev considers the egg presents the world, by the shell of which is the sky, the membrane is the air, the white is the water and the yolk is the earth.

Many people still prefer coloring with natural ingredients, such as using skins of red onions, or beetroot. In Armenia people bring fun to it.  The egg fights are the kids’ most favorite part of the holiday - you hit your opponent’s boiled egg on both sides, and whoever’s egg does not crack, wins and gets to play with others with the same egg, eventually having one winner in the game with the strongest egg. Sometimes the winner will get a prize such as big chocolate egg or bunny shaped chocolates. In terms of main dishes, there is fish served along with rice pilaf made with a bunch of raisins.

Although Armenians do not eat rice as often as people in Asia, but during Easter, this pilaf is a must! So, Armenians cook rice with raisins where rice is the symbol of humanity, and raisins represent all Christians around the world. The table will also include million types of greens like coriander, tarragon, green onions which are served raw. But there are some greens that should be boiled, or cooked with eggs. All these beauties are accompanied by Armenian lavash bread as part of the traditional menu. Except for lavash, there is another type of bread that is the most popular during this special holiday. It’s the Easter bread, which is called Chorek. It is sweet bread, like a sweet Brioche Bun. It’s especially loved by kids. Chorek is a rather sweet and puff bread, that’s why it’s not an everyday dish, but is made once a year, during Easter. On Easter day the people welcome each other on the occasion of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ saying:  “Christ is risen from the dead” and receive the answer: “Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.”


As the first nation to adopt Christianity, Armenia puts a big emphasis on Easter as an important holiday in the religion. Many people will go for Lenten fasting 40 days before the holiday, by eliminating food of animal origin from their diet and keeping themselves away from sins. So basically it is like becoming a vegan for forty days.  Although not everyone follows this lent, but nowadays, there are many appropriate restaurant menu options for this time of the year. 

One-week prior is Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was greeted with a glorious celebration. This Sunday, every church is decorated with flowers and palm branches. People buy crowns made of these branches and wear them all around

The Church

This year, like every other year, a special mass is traditionally held at the Main Church - the Ejmiatsin Cathedral. People will attend the event with their families to receive blessings and reflect back on their lives as Christians. We can’t say all Armenians necessarily take part in the mass, but that doesn’t indicate any disrespect to religion.

But there is another part of the church ceremony when the majority of people try to be involved. That is getting the holy lighted candle. On the evening of Saturday, holy light is fired, which people should take home. It is not necessary for everybody to take it from the church; it can be done by one family member. The main aim is to get a candle of a holy light home. The faith behind this candle is having the light of Jesus in your house, which will give warmth to your home. They generally believe in the importance of Easter not only by its religious meaning but also look at it as a crucial chance to have another get together with their families and mark the beauty and colors of spring.  The world’s oldest Christian country celebrates this holiday with greatest joy, happiness and faith as the testimony of belief, hope, and love of this old nation.

Here only in the world you can celebrate it with warm family atmosphere, kind people and see the unique traditions for this holiday, as well as taste the nations meals and dishes served only during Easter.