(This conversation took place in Armenian)
My informant described a traditional game that is very popular amongst the single youngsters in Armenia. On January 29 (the eve of the 30th), Armenians celebrate Saint Sarkis, or Սուրբ Սարգիս (pronounced “Surb Sarkis”), who was a military martyr. On the day before the celebration, single youngsters make and eat a very salty type of cookie, called Aghablit (Աղաբլիթ) and avoid water before going to bed. It is said that their future husband or wife will bring them water in their dream to relieve them of the extreme saltiness of the cracker. In the morning, they share their dreams with each other and see who “wins” the game, as in, who saw the most attractive and eligible people in their dreams.
This tradition is performed every year on the eve of Surb Sarkis, which is January 29. This a casual event meant to entertain adults and forecast the future of youngsters. The results of this tradition are not to be taken seriously, but to entertain possibilities of the future.
My informant learned about this tradition from her classmates, who were all excited to meet their future spouse in their dreams. My informant explained that this tradition emphasized the importance of getting married and creating a family. She concluded that, because it is practiced by both boys and girls and is not limited to one gender, it is telling of the societal expectations for youngsters. Men and women were expected to prioritize getting married and building a family above all else. This tradition was specifically performed only on the day of Surb Sarkis.
This tradition emphasizes the importance of building a family. Armenians are very family-oriented, and it is important for parents to instill the same family values in their children. This salt biscuit tradition helps youngsters look to the future to build a family of their own.
This tradition also assumes that the primary purpose of dreams is to show one’s deepest desires. This purpose is in line with Sigmund Freud’s definition of dreams, in which he explains that dreams show us what we wish to accomplish in our lives. Of course, this is not a scientifically proven method for finding your future spouse, but it is an entertaining tradition to participate in.