Armenian Wedding Rituals
So, Armenians from Iran (Persian Armenians) have this tradition on the wedding day. When the bride is getting ready in her room, and all her bridesmaids and her mom and grandma and close relatives are helping her get ready, they take the bride’s shoe and write all the bridesmaid’s names on the bottom of the shoe. The meaning is that, once the night is over, the bride takes off her shoes and the name that’s still on the shoe and that hasn’t been rubbed off on the floor or anything is the name of the bridesmaid who will get married next. It’s cute. I’ve never heard of that before my friend told me that she was in a wedding where they did that. I think it’s pretty superstitious and I don’t really believe it, but it’s fun and entertaining!
Armenians are obsessed with marriage and matchmaking and love and predicting love, and just getting everyone married off because that’s what makes them happy! We’re so obsessed that we have a Saint’s Day dedicated to predicting WHO we’re going to fall in love and marry! I know…! It’s called Saint Sarkis Day, and girls are the only ones who participate in this day’s traditions. What happens is that on the evening of this certain day, girls go to their local Armenian deli and get this really really salty bread. We eat a piece of this bread before we go to sleep. We can’t drink ANY water or liquids or whatever after we eat this bread because it’s supposed to make us dream about, or see IN a dream, the guy we’re going to marry. It’s worked for like half of my female family members and failed for a few… My grandma said that she dreamt about being in my grandpa’s (her husband’s) house in Armenia, but she didn’t know that that was HIS house until she married him and saw pictures of his mom – she saw his mom in the dream. So it was like an indirect…uhhh…what’s the word? Like revelation! I found out about it THIS YEAR! All these years, I’ve been DEPRIVED of the knowledge of knowing who I’m potentially going to marry! That’s not fair! I wanna know!!! But then again, I don’t, ya know?!! It’ll ruin life’s surprise! None of my friends do it. Actually, I can’t say that; I haven’t really asked them. But I feel like they would talk about it if they did it, ya know?
When I initially learned about this project, I knew Nicole would be one of the best resources to go to. A little background on Nicole: she has accumulated a repertoire of folklore since childhood and essentially lives and breathes Armenian culture. When I asked Nicole to share some Armenian folklore with me, she looked overwhelmed. The thought of having to choose only a few to share seemed an impossible task. She is a particularly active member of her ethnic community. She explained to me that ever since the Armenian genocide took place, Armenians all over the world have been fighting to create awareness about the genocide and prove that it actually happened (since Turkey continues to deny all accusations of its role in the genocide). However, being an Armenian in the US makes this a difficult task since Turkey is an ally to our country. Nonetheless, Nicole continues to spread the awareness through individual and group efforts. She decided to share Armenian wedding rituals with me.
The fact that wedding rituals came to mind first speaks volumes to the significance of this ceremony in Armenian culture. As mentioned above, Nicole learned about the first ritual from a friend and the second one from her grandmother. The two rituals dont have a specific relational or chronological order; I chose to include both of them as a way of reinforcing the importance of the wedding day in Armenian culture. I gather that women of this culture tend to get married at a much younger age than American women. In the Armenian culture, young women are constantly reminded of their future wedding day. The time leading up to this day is spent dreaming about and pursuing the perfect man.
I have never heard of either ritual, but they seem to rely heavily on superstition and luck. These traditions remind me of childhood games I used to play with my friends when we were in elementary school, he loves me, he loves me not, which involves a girl plucking petals off of a flower and alternating between he loves me and he loves me not. The last petal pertains to your her fate. However, I cant think of any games that I would play at this age (I am 20 years old now) pertaining to a future husband. The culture that I was brought up with does not focus so much on marriage as it does getting a solid education and a successful job. However, I think it would still be fun to engage in some of these rituals (even Nicole does not fully believe in them).