Armenian Traditions and Customs You Should Know

Vardavar celebration
Vardavar celebration | © VahanN / Shutterstock

Armenian culture and its customs go far back in history. Armenians are often characterized as hospitable, friendly, and kind people who respect elders, have a gentle attitude to children, and have strong family values. Here are some of the customs travelers should know a bit about before visiting the country.

Loved by over 40s

Armenians greet each other with a kiss and hold hands

It’s always a good idea to be aware of the customs for greetings and farewells in a new place. In Armenia, visitors might notice locals kissing on the cheek when they meet, which is the most common greeting among friends and family. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for women to hold hands. This is not necessarily an indication that they are in a relationship; it’s simply a common way for close friends to show affection.

It is customary in Armenia to kiss on the cheek when you meet a friend

Armenians use the French word for “thank you”

Technically, the Armenian word for “thank you” is shnorakalutsyun. Instead of using this long word, many Armenian-speakers will use the French merci, along with the term of endearment, jan. The latter can’t be translated, but it expresses a tender attitude.

It’s OK to ask personal questions

Armenians are open-hearted and keep communication simple. Sometimes, this might mean they don’t leave a lot of personal space. Locals like to speak face-to-face and look straight into someone’s eye while making some kind of physical contact. It’s also customary to ask personal and detailed questions. It’s a perfectly normal thing to do in the country and isn’t considered rude.

Come hungry when invited to an Armenian family’s home

Just like any country in the Caucasus, Armenians are hospitable and love having guests at their homes—especially foreigners who are likely to be greeted with warmth and a table piled with as much food as it can hold. Moreover, you’ll be “forced” to try all the dishes. To not try everything would be considered insulting to the host, so starve for a while before going to an Armenian dinner to avoid embarrassment.

Armenian family will greet you with a table full of local cuisine

It’s OK to live with parents

Armenian parents are known to be protective, and it’s very common for adult children to live at home until they get married or possibly even for the rest of their lives. Parents usually pay for education, marriage, and all of their children’s other life events, which is a concept that might be completely foreign to many people from the Western part of the world. Moreover, if someone is traveling with their kids in Armenia, it’s normal for a local to stop by, compliment the kid, and ask questions. This is rarely anything concerning, but it’s another custom of which travelers should be aware.

Newborns are only introduced to close family for the first 40 days

Even though it’s kind of a superstition, many families still follow this custom and opt to not allow anyone to meet their newborns for 40 days. The only exception is very close relatives. The custom is rooted in safety and medical precautions, as newborns are quite vulnerable and might easily pick up bacteria.

No one, except family members, see a newborn for 40 days after the birth

Newlyweds often jump over a fire

Armenian holidays consist of Christian and Pagan culture, which are both deeply rooted in Armenian customs and traditions. As people couldn’t forget all their favorite Pagan celebrations, the Armenian Apostolic Church has adopted some of the traditions and holidays. For example, during the holiday Trndez, newlyweds jump over an open fire to defend themselves against misfortune and evil.

Armenian girls eat a salty cookie to see their future husband

This might be another odd custom for many foreigners, but it’s a fun thing to do. On St. Sarkis Day, the Armenian version of Valentine’s Day, elderly women in the family bake an extremely salty cookie according to a special recipe. The single girls in the family eat it, and it’s believed that they will later dream of their future husbands. It could be a complete stranger or someone they know, but if he brings them a cup of water in the dream, they know it’s him.

Single and unmarried girls eat salty cookies to dream their future husbands

Splashing water brings luck

Armenia has a limited water reservoir, and, therefore, locals know the worth of this natural resource. Many of the country’s traditions that involve water symbolize appreciation, life, and good luck. One of the most fun holidays is Vardavar, which has Pagan roots and celebrates the goddess of purity and water. On this day, everyone gets splashed with water in the streets of every Armenian city and town. It’s a way to get out of the normal routine and to purify the body—and have the time of your life.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.