I interviewed my informant, Vanessa, in the band office lounge. She is of Armenian descent on her mother’s side. Because of this, she was able to provide me with Armenian traditions around important celebrations. This includes the Armenian tradition of Agra Hadik:
Vanessa: “Agra Hadik is the baby’s first bath after baptism. It’s a big deal, and the family usually hosts a party at their house where people get together and eat stuff. Oh! And sometimes, a priest comes to bless the baby if there’s one nearby.”
Me: “Can you provide me with more details of the bath or the party?”
Vanessa: “On the bath?… um… they use special oils to wash the baby. That’s about it. And after the bath, they lay out a quilt or towel or blanket of some sort with items — like a book, money, a calculator, a stethoscope, a thimble… what else? [I told her this was enough if she couldn’t think of more examples] But, yeah, they are, like, representatives of career paths in the baby’s life. You place the baby on the quilt, and let them pick an item that they are drawn to. It’s representative of their future and what they’ll become.”
Me: “I’m guessing you did this?”
Vanessa: “Yeah! I picked a stethoscope which, I mean — [she gestures to herself] Gerontology major… going to med school. [She smiles] My brother picked money.”
My informant told me that she learned this tradition from her grandparents and her great aunts and uncles. She has also seen this celebration performed for her cousins.
She also suggested I do a little research to make sure she got the facts straight. I have attached a source I found that describes the same folk tradition, just with a few alternate details from what I documented from my informant.
I have learned of this tradition from class and from readings. It’s fascinating knowing that I know someone linked to the very tradition we talked about in class! I also think it’s amusing my informant picked an item that ultimately did reflect her chosen career path.