Archive for the ‘Armenian’ Category

Armenian Holidays Calendar for iCal or Google

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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.

Introducing ArmEngine

Monday, 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