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Attending festivals in a new country is one of the many great ways to experience local culture and get to know its customs and traditions. Armenians love celebrating various occasions, therefore each year is full of interesting and fun events. Come during these festivities to experience Armenian hospitality, join the crowds in water splashing, taste the various wines of the country, or attend a film festival. There is sure to be something to your liking.
Jazz lovers should attend the annual Jazz Day held in Yerevan‘s Cascade Complex on April 30. It’s an International Jazz Day celebrated across the globe, and Armenia is no exception. The event brings together jazz groups from Armenia as well as international artists to highlight the music’s significant role as a method of communication that exceeds differences.
Hosted by Areni Festival Fund, Yerevan Wine Days is a two-day event held on Saryan Street on May 11-12. The representatives of the 15 leading local wineries offer their products, while famous restaurants display corresponding dishes for visitors. Each day has a special program, so you don’t want to miss any of the events. For instance, on the first day of the festival, you can try white and rosé wine, while red wines are presented on the next day. Both days have songs and concerts accompanying the event.
The Fund provides coupons to visitors that are worth 4,000 AMD (US$8.30). It includes a glass, three coupons for a wine tasting of three producers of your choice, and three 20% discount vouchers for food at any restaurant represented at the event.
Dolma is a national dish of Armenia made from minced meat wrapped in fresh grape leaves. The event is held at Hnaberd village on May 20, where visitors have the possibility to try all the different varieties of the dish. Therefore, by attending the celebration, you’ll be able to try all the different types and varieties at once.
Goris Regional Park holds the annual Syunik Mulberry Festival on July 7, which essentially aims to make Goris an attractive tourist destination and to boost the social and economic life of the area. Each community in Syunik Province will represent different national and regional dishes made from mulberry. Come here to try Armenian mulberry vodka, taste dried mulberries, and mulberry molasses, called doshab in the local language.
This is one of the fun activities in which you can participate all over Armenia on July 8. The word vardavar in Armenian has two meanings: to sprinkle with water and the flaming of the rose. Legend has it that the goddess Astghik disseminated love all across Armenia by sprinkling rose water. The god Vahagn defended that love by continually fighting against Evil. After the adoption of Christianity, this tradition was transformed into Vardavar, a festivity where everyone splashes water on each other.
Film lovers should come to Yerevan and attend the Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival at the Moscow Cinema on July 8-15. The main aim of the festival is to encourage creativity and to establish a network between filmmakers and movie enthusiasts. The films shown during the festival address issues of human experience, people’s daily lives be they extraordinary or usual, and the joys and troubles of the nation.
Another fun activity you can participate in is the Yerevan Color Run organized at Hamilar Complex in July (date varies). The event starts early in the morning with an energetic fitness warm-up to get ready for the 5km run. The participants are drenched from head to toe in harmless bright colors along the route. It’s an entertaining run, so there’s no timing, rules, and restrictions. However, the three men and three women who come in first at the finish line are awarded a special prize.
If you are keen on seeing traditional Armenian clothing, you should attend the Taraz Festival in Yerevan on August 4. Those traditional dresses, or taraz in the local language, reflect the cultural identity of Armenians and aspects of the national identity. During the festival, you’ll be able to admire Western and Eastern Armenian traditional clothes.
The International Balloon Festival brings a special atmosphere to Yerevan on September 15-18, where many colorful balloons from different countries adorn Yerevan’s sky, making it a picture-perfect place. The festival, organized by Skyball, aims to develop tourism in the country, as well as its aviation and aeronautics.