I interviewed my informant, Vanessa, in the band office lounge. As I prompted her to think of the folklore/folk traditions/folk beliefs she knew, she was reminded of a New Year’s celebration in her family:
Vanessa: “We have this rice pudding we eat on New Year. It’s called ‘anoushabour.’”
Me: “What is anoushabour? What’s in it?”
Vanessa: “It’s, like, a rice pudding with shredded almonds… and grapes and walnuts. And you put cinnamon on top so it spells out the year.”
Me: “You said it’s eaten on New Year?”
Vanessa: “Yes. It’s eaten at midnight. Everyone gets a bowl and eats together. And it’s bad luck to eat it after the week of New Year.”
Me: “Is this tradition accompanied by any other rituals?”
Vanessa: “Well, we give kisses — like on the cheek — right at midnight before eating the pudding.”
Me: “What does it mean to you? What’s the significance of this tradition?”
Vanessa: “It’s, like — you are gathering with family, and celebrating another year that you are blessed with. It gives good luck for the year.”
My informant also told me that her great grandmother taught her the tradition, and that her grandmother carries on the tradition today. The eating of the anoushabour happens in someone’s home where the family has been invited to celebrate.
The eating of the anoushabour is similar to many other New Year’s traditions that are meant to bring good luck and unite the family in good health. I am also aware of other families (of varying heritage) that eat special dishes on New Year because it brings good luck. It’s a fun tradition that carries on Armenian folk belief.