Armenian Holidays Calendar for iCal or Google

August 26th, 2009

Every Armenian grandma I know has an Armenian calendar up in their kitchen with all the important dates on it. You could always ask them, “When is Vardavar?” so you could know what day you could wake up your brother/sister in bed by splashing water on them and not get in trouble. But that is such a hassle. What if you forget and miss it by a couple of days? Better to get an electronic version that we can all subscribe to in our iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook, or whatever other calendar and get reminders like we do for everything else. So I grabbed one of those wall calendars and got to typing…

There are some things to keep in mind when putting together a calendar of Armenian holidays. Since there are three times as many of us living in the Diaspora than in our own country, should it include the official state holidays of the Republic of Armenia? What language should it be in? What about including religious holidays? Every religious “day” or just the big important ones? And what of the other non-religious but perhaps pagan in origin traditions some groups of Armenians mark or remember on their calendars?

Although I’m aware of all these questions, I haven’t spent an enormous amount of time coming up with great answers for each of them. Generally I’ve included most, if not all, official state holidays from the Republic, as I feel that even as Diasporans we should know what the state holidays are in our own country. I’ve also included the “big” religious or traditional days that our family observed or I know about in general. Each occasion is named in Armenian and in English, in some cases just Armenian names spelled phoneticall in English. The final list looks like this:

  • January 1, Ամանոր / New Year Day
  • January 6, Սուրբ Ծնունդ / Christmas
  • February 14, Տռնդեզ (Տեառնընդառաչ) / Trndez (Purification)
  • February 19, Վարդանանք / Vartanank
  • March 18, Միջինք / Mijink
  • April 5, Ծաղկազարդ / Palm Sunday (Tsakhkazard)
  • April 24, Եղեռնի զոհերի հիշատակի օր / Genocide Remembrance Day
  • May 21, Համբարցում / Hambartsum
  • May 28, Հանրապետութայան օր / Republic Day
  • July 5, Սահմանադրության օր / Constitution Day
  • July 19, Վարդավառ / The Transfiguration
  • September 13, Խաչվերած / Khachverats
  • September 21, Անկախության օր / Independence Day
  • October 13, Սուրբ Թարգմամչոց / Holy Translators Day
  • December 7, Երկրաշարժի զոհերի հիշատակի օր / Spitak Remembrance Day

If you think I’ve missed something that should be on here, post a comment below with the date, what the occasion is, and, if you think I’ve not heard of it, why it should be included. I will definitely consider your feedback and update the calendar as needed to reflect additions.

Lastly, most of the Church-related dates change yearly so they are missing for next year. This calendar is good for 2009 only right now. I will update it for 2010 shortly before we get to it. Enjoy.

Subscribe to Armenian Holidays Calendar in iCal

Download Armenian Holidays Calendar file

All About Armenian Last Names

May 23rd, 2007

I like Armenian last names because quite often they are easily identifiable. That combined with the fact that there are so few of us around the world makes for a fun game of “Spot the Armenians” in almost any list of names; whether they be movie credits, class attendance sheets, or whatever else.

The following is a brief overview on the composition and history of Armenian last names. It is reprinted from a recent edition of the Gibrahayer (Cypriot-Armenian) Newsletter. The one thing that is a bit odd is that they don’t talk about the Indo-European roots of the “ian” suffix.

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Most Armenian names end in “ian” or “yan,” meaning the “son of,” but some Diaspora Armenians have changed these endings to blend in their host societies. Today in Turkey “oglu” often replaces “ian,” while Russian Armenians may change the endings to “ov”; e.g., Gary Kasparov, Serge Parajanov. A name ending in “ian” is not always exclusively Armenian, since the ending can also be occasionally found in names in Irish, Persian, English, Philippine and some other cultures. Armenian last names generally fall into five specific categories: Aristocracy, Parent, Geography, Occupation or Trait.

Aristocracy
The ancient Armenian aristocracy (“Nakharar” class) was derived from Parthian-Persian stock and many of their names ended in “uni” or “ooni.” Most of these families were destroyed over the centuries but some still survive today; e.g., Sasuni, Rshtuni.

Parent
Many Armenian names are derived from the first names of an ancestor; e.g. Davidian, “son of David,” Stepanian, “son of Stepan,” or Krikorian, “son of Krikor/Grigor.” Until the 19th century, virtually all first names had a religious origin, so most of those last names are also religious.

Geography
Some last names are based on geographic origin and end in “lian” (Turkish) or “tsian” (Armenian). Typical examples are Sivaslian “from Sivas,” Urfalian “from Urfa” and Vanetzian “from Van.” These names were typically given to an immigrant who migrated from a different region of Armenia. Obviously everyone living in Marash would not call himself or herself “Marashlian”.

Occupation
Most last names were taken from the professions of an ancestor. These names frequently originated with the tax collectors who needed to identify all individuals for tax purposes. Typical examples are Najarian “son of a carpenter,” Arabian “son of a wagon/ teamster,” and Vosgarichian “son of a goldsmith.” Many of these occupations are not Armenian, since the tax man (typically a Moslem Turk, Persian, Arab, etc.) would use his own native word for the occupation; e.g., the name Boyajian is based on the Arab/Turkish term “boyaji” “one who dyes.”

Trait
The most confusing and curious names are those based on some trait of an ancestor. Typical examples are Topalian “son of the cripple,” Dilsizian “son of the tongueless one,” or Sinanian “son of the spearpoint.” Many of the origins of these names are unclear unless one understands the original context. As an example, Dilsizian indicates that an ancestor had his tongue cut out by the Turks for using the Armenian language, while the term “Sinan” was a slang term applied to somebody either with a very erect military-like carriage or who was “hung like a horse.” Some of these traits are not physical, but rather reflect personality or social status; e.g., Melikian “son of the king” or Harutunian “son of the resurrection.” The name Harutunian could be based on an ancestor named Harutune (so-named because he was born around Eastertime), or adopted by a convert to Protestantism to show his status as a “born-again Christian.”

Many last names today have been shortened or modified to aid pronunciations by non Armenians; e.g., the name Mugerditchian/ Mkrtichian” becomes “Mugar,” “Husseniglian,” become s “Hewsen,” and Samourkashian” becomes “Samour.” These abbreviated names often drop the ian” ending, and are not immediately identifiable as being Armenian to an outsider. The name categories of Occupation and Trait can differ significantly between Eastern Armenians and Western Armenians, since the eastern names often have Persian, Georgian or Russian roots, while the western names may have Turkish, Arab, or Greek roots. Names with the prefix “Der” or “Ter” show that one of the ancestors was a “Der Hayr” a married parish priest), a position of great social status among Armenians; e.g., DerBedrosian, Ter Petrosian.

The study of Armenian Names is a fascinating exercise, since virtually every aspect of the culture is reflected in names. There have been extensive studies of Armenian names in the Armenian language, but little has appeared in English and many Armenians (born outside of Armenia) do not understand the significance of their own names.

Expedia Travel Search Dashboard Widget

March 1st, 2007

Screenshot of Expedia Search Dashboard widget

Download the Expedia Search Dashboard widget

A few weeks ago I noticed that Apple finally released a beta of Dashcode. I grabbed it of course and started to play with it; happy that widget creation wasn’t mind bogglingly annoying any more. This Expedia Search Dashboard widget is the first product of many from my tinkering in Dashcode.

The widget gives you a quick way to look up travel destination information, availability, and pricing. The whole thing is based on the Expedia Travel Search feature which is in Beta right now.

Here are some examples of searches you can do with this Dashboard widget:

  1. General Destination Search – “Atlanta” will take you to a page with deals for traveling to Atlanta and information on attractions for when you get there.
  2. Flight Search – “Seattle New York” will show you results for round-trip flights from Seattle to New York City in departing in two weeks. You can also specify a date range (6/21-6/26), a month (June), or a season (summer).
  3. Hotel Search – “Hotels in London” will show you results for hotels in London in two weeks. You can get specific with dates and months just like the flight search.
  4. Rental Car Search – “Cars in Miami” will get you the results for rental cars in Miami; same date stuff applies from flights and hotels.
  5. Cruise Search – “One Week Caribbean Cruise in July” will get you results for 6-9 night Caribbean cruises leaving in July. You can be less specific with the length of the cruise or the date range if you want.
  6. Popular Destination Search – “Disneyland” will get you to a page with deals and packages to visit Disneyland.
  7. Itinerary Search – “[your itinerary # goes here]” will take you to an updated view of your saved or booked Expedia itinerary. If you don’t know your itinerary number, you can search for “My Itineraries”.
  8. Flight Status Check “Flight Status AA 495” will get you the status of American Airlines Flight 495. You have to use the airline’s two-digit code for this one.
  9. Check the Weather “Weather in Seattle”, or any other city instead of gloomy Seattle, will take you to… a weather forecast for that city. Surprise!
  10. Currency Converter “Currency” or “Currency Converter” will take you to a currency converter.

Oh and remember:

  • Anything you search for is NOT case sensitive.
  • If you don’t enter a date, it will assume you’re leaving in two weeks.
  • It will remember your last ten searches. Just click on the little magnifying glass to get a drop-down selection.

That should be enough to get you started. Wow, this little guy sure does a lot. But remember, the text search feature at Expedia is in Beta and it’s not perfect. I know the guys at who built it and you’re more than welcome to leave your feedback on this widget, and the Expedia Travel Search feature in general, right here in the comments for this post. I will relay any non-widget-specific feedback to the search guys. And just to be clear, this is not an Expedia-endorsed product. I built this on my own, in my own time.

Next time I will try my hand at an Expedia Fare Calendar Dashboard widget. In the meantime, you can check out the official Expedia Fare Calendar Google Gadget that was just released.

Enjoy your trip!

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Introducing ThankYou Travel Rewards by Expedia

November 7th, 2006

Expedia + ThankYou Network

This is it, it is finally here… today is the big day. Expedia.com introduces their travel rewards program in conjunction with Citi’s ThankYou Network. This program was over a year in the making and a result of the hard work of many people in both groups (myself included).

Here is what you want to know about this program and the ThankYou Network in general:

  • Starting today, you can earn ThankYou Points for booking hotels, vacation packages, cruises, and activities on Expedia.com. Depending on what you book you get 1-2 points per dollar spent. You earn these points no matter how you pay for the travel!
  • You still earn the loyalty points you normally would from the airline, hotel, or car suppliers.
  • If you make the booking using an eligible Citi credit card, you earn another 1 point per dollar spent plus a point for every mile you fly.

So for example you book a flight+hotel trip for two from New York to Las Vegas that costs you $1400 on a Citi PremierPass credit card. You could earn upwards of 6,500 ThankYou Points for just that one booking!

Then you can redeem your ThankYou Points for all kinds of things including gift cards, gifts, and most importantly, more travel. There are no blackout dates for the travel redemptions and no tricky rules. The Travel Rewards portion of the ThankYou Network site is powered by Expedia and is what I have spent most of my first 15 months at Expedia working on.

You need to be a ThankYou member to sign in to the site and see what I’ve built but it is free and easy to join so, what are you waiting for? Go sign up for your free ThankYou Network account now!

I’ll include the press release after the jump and also post my personal thoughts about working on the program later…

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WWDC Update #2

June 11th, 2005

WWDC is over and I am back home in LA. Still can’t say much about the sessions but we did see some cool things all over the board. Core Data and Cocoa Bindings are quite neat but at the same time they are quite a bit confusing too when it comes to doing actually useful and slightly complicated things with them. I also learned that Core Data was a translation of WebObjects stuff into Cocoa.

I took the day off from the conference’s mostly boring and uninteresting schedule on Friday to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge with my roomy from the hotel room, George, and another guy from Australia, James. We went from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to Sausalito, then took the ferry back to Pier 1, then rode back again to Pier 41. It was great fun and it happened to be great weather after a week of semi-cloudy or rainy weather. I’ve posted pics from the my trip here.

I also saw The Longest Yard, with Chris Rock and Adam Sandler. Normally I would not have enjoyed this movie very much; but after a long day in-doors at the conference talking code, it was great to sit back for some really brainless laughs. If that’s what you need it will serve you well.

WWDC Update #1

June 8th, 2005

Wow. I am loving WWDC. It has been great so far. Its the second day of the conference, although the students here on scholarship, including myself, started a day earlier.

The Keynote
There was Steve’s keynote where he delivered the blow that shocked the PC world. Apple is not only switching the processors being used in their computers to Intel or x86 based processors but, they have been secretly been building, running, and testing Mac OS X on such systems ever since its inception. This is incredible since almost all of the software that Apple produces for the Mac (I’m not sure about the Pro Apps) seems to be already ported and ready to go for the new platform. Now its up to the rest of the developer’s to kick it into gear and do the same.

I finally got to see Steve speak live instead of on a webcast. He’s got showmanship and charisma to spare. He controls a room of 3,800 developers as easily as a pen on paper. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Going to WWDC

June 3rd, 2005

Europe… didn’t… happen. For various reasons out of my control. There is no use stressing or being disappointed about it. It will happen when its meant to happen, I am sure it will work itself out soon enough.

Instead I am headed back to San Francisco and Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. I was invited there on a student scholarship and I’m very much looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll learn a lot and meet a few interesting people in the process.

In preparation for WWDC I installed the copy of Mac OS X 10.4 or Tiger as its better known. There are a number of improvements throughout the system which I like but to be honest I don’t think its worth the extra $100 or so for most people. Spotlight and Dashboard are cool but hardly the bee’s knees.

I also have a bone to pick with Spotlight searches: Read the rest of this entry »

BIG THINGS

April 17th, 2005

Man we already did that
Now I’m into big things
No time to get sidetracked
Now I’m into big things
Get money now besides that
Some more big things
I’m into big things
The big things
The big things

Nas, “Big Things” from “I Am”

Expedia, (.commmmm)

I accepted an offer to work for Expedia, the online travel agency, as a Program Manager. My job will include drafting specifications and making design decisions for various projects and lots of meetings with marketing/business people as well as the software developers and testers in my team working on the projects I will be managing. I will not be doing much, if any, coding on the job but I will definitely be involved in the design issues and coding/testing issues my project-mates will be dealing with. I’m looking forward to the job a lot. I feel like its pretty well-suited to my interests and abilities. I can’t wait to see how it goes when I get up there. I am dreading using a PC every day at work though.

Armen in Expedia Cap

Expedia is in the city of Bellevue, in the beautiful Puget Sound area of Washington State. Apparently Berkeley wasn’t good enough and I can’t wait to go even further north from LA. That’s actually not true, but its just how things have worked out. I hear great things about the area and I’m sure that it will be just as rewarding an experience as my time here in Berkeley has been. I will be moving up to the Seattle area at the start of July.

If any of you live up there or have lived up there, know about the place, want to tell me about it, warn me about it 🙂 or whatever, please do.

Europe

Amir, my cousin Ara, and myself are planning a backpacking trip to Europe. We’ll be over there for a few weeks this June. The list of places we’ll be visiting isn’t solid yet so I’ll post that a little later. If you’ve been to some cool places in Europe that are must-see, please share them with us. This should really be an amazing trip but I’m trying not to get too overexcited about it because I still have four CS projects, an 8 page paper, and three final exams to do before I can go.

Oh and if you’d like to go its not too late (yet) to join the trip.

“A Brief Introduction to Mac OS X Programming”

March 21st, 2005

I’ll be giving a talk this Thursday on, as you can guess, Mac OS X programming. The presentation is organized by a group that I’m a part of, ArmEngine, which I just talked about in my last post. So here is the low down:

When: Thusrday, March 24, 2005 at 8:00 pm
Where: 104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91206

Link to Google Map

“A Brief Introduction to Mac OS X Programming”
First, a very quick introduction to Objective-C, the language most commonly used to program for OS X. Then we’ll implement a small application that will demonstrate the Cocoa API, the OS X developer tools Xcode and Interface Builder, and how they work together to enable the rapid development of powerful user-friendly applications.

Introducing ArmEngine

March 21st, 2005

I wanted to make a post regarding the seminar presentation thing I’m doing this Thursday evening but I though it might be appropriate to first introduce the group I’m part of and doing it for. I should have done this sooner. I suppose I haven’t done such a great job publicizing.

First I’ll give you my summary of the group then I’ll give you the group’s “charter” message. Richard Ohanian founded ArmEngine to attract Armenian engineers of all kinds, particularly in EE, CS, and IT. The purpose of the group, originally started as a Yahoo Group, is to discuss technical issues, news, or developments, as well as network and post job openings. The group started just last August but already has over 100 members and is growing quickly. The membership is geographically and educationa diversity. If you’re Armenian and are an engineer or in the fields mentioned above, please consider joining the group. And now for the semi-official group intro blurb.

The group of Armenian scientists, engineers and professionals of Electronics, Computer Science and/or related fields.
We are Armenians who are highly educated/experienced in EE, ECE, CS, IT… Many of us are PhDs, Masters, Engineers and professionals of the above disciplines.
We know that every career needs professional connections.
We want to be successful socially, financially and professionally and we hope to have a bright future.
We think that a globally connected network of Armenian experts of EE and CS will have its positive effects in Armenia.
We enjoy communicating with each other.
We also want to do all of the above together!
So, we are in ArmEngine.
Armengine is a forum for exchanging information and ideas as well as solving technical issues relevant to Electronics and Computer Engineering/Science.
ArmEngine is a business network, so members can use the group as a communication tool for their own personal interests and success. A member’s success is everyone