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Longing for Armenia: Mer Hayrenik (Our Fatherland)

I’m an Egyptian Armenian Hybrid and growing up abroad, neither in Egypt nor Armenia, people from several nationalities would, as one would imagine, immediately recognize Egypt. You know, The Pyramids, The Nile River and what not! But hearing, “I’m half-Armenian!” would usually cause quite a stir. To most people I’ve met, they had never heard of Armenia until they met me. Curiosity would get the best of them and people would ask me all sorts of questions about this foreign land, beginning with, “Say something in Armenian!”, to which I happily concede. I have never been to Armenia unfortunately, which is why I talk about it every chance I get, just to feel connected and closer to my second home. Growing up, I watched Momma take matters into her own hands and spread around her vivacious Armenian vibes in a none-Army community. So without further ado, below are a few facts you should know about Armenia, besides being the origins of the equally notorious Kim Kardashian and Dan Bilzerian:

  • Armenia is one of the oldest nations in the world. Yerevan, Armenia’s capital is older than Rome.
  • Armenians are very religious and take pride in the fact that Armenia is the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official state religion.
  • The Armenian Genocide committed by The Ottoman Empire in 1915, which resulted in the mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians, has left a scar on all the generations that followed. To this day, Armenians maintain expressing their sorrow and pain through their art, music, and poetry. Almost everything they do is dedicated to one way or the other, to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The commemoration is on April 24th of every year. It has been 101 years, over a century, since the Genocide. 101 years and the wounds are still fresh.

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  • Apricots and Pomegranates are national Symbols in Armenia. Apricots, in particular, are very special, so much so, that the orange color in the flag exemplifies the Apricot. Pomegranates, on the other hand, symbolize fertility.
  • We LOVE dancing! Especially Kochari. No, not the Egyptian dish, but rather a popular folk Armenian dance that is performed in every wedding ceremony, every Christmas, every New Year’s Eve and just about any other happy occasion.

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  • Chess is taken very seriously in Armenian households and is a compulsory subject in Armenian schools.
  • Armenians are extremely protective of their heritage, culture, religion, and language. Although Armenians are scattered everywhere around the world, they are very careful about whom they mingle with, and almost everywhere they go, they start their own societies, with their own schools, churches, and clubs. Wherever they go, they try to preserve, maintain and hold on to whatever life their ancestors had in Armenia, whatever is closest to home.
  • Armenian architecture is divine. Wherever you go, from monasteries and churches to modern buildings in Yerevan City, exploring Armenia will never be dull.
  • Ararat is of exceptional value to the Armenians. Some believe that it’s where Noah’s Arc settled. But nevertheless, it’s one of Armenia’s most significant monuments and symbols.

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  • Ararat is of exceptional value to the Armenians. Some believe that it’s where Noah’s Arc settled. But nevertheless, it’s one of Armenia’s most significant monuments and symbols.

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It makes me sad how underrated Armenia is, and I truly believe it needs more recognition. Make sure Armenia is within your list of must-visits, and if you do make it, please take me with you!

Longing for Armenia: Mer Hayrenik (Our Fatherland)

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  • An introverted cultural-hybrid with minimalist beliefs, a fascination for cinema, cosmology and movie scores, a threatening addiction to The Walking Dead and Kit Kats, and a rather gratifying obsession with her Deadpool t-shirt.

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