Celebration of Terndez
On February 14, 40 days after Christmas, Armenian Apostolic Church of all Armenians celebrate “Tyarnyndaraj” (Candlemas Day) or also known among people as “Terndez”, which means “The Lord is with you”. According to Gospel, 40 days after the birth of Christ Mary and Joseph took the baby to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and consecrate to the temple. They met an old man named Simon who had asked God to give him such a long life to see the son of God. Hence, the holiday was created and named “Tyarnyndaraj”, which means “To come to meet the Lord, the Christ”. The celebrations of the holiday begin on 13th of February in the evening as per the church calendar the new day starts after the evening divine service when the fields and gardens are blessed.
Accordingly, a festive bonfire is made in every churchyard for the newly married couples of the very year to jump over it. Then they take a candle light from the church and by that light make bonfires in their own yard as during the consecration of Christ to the temple people came to meet him with lamps and torches.
The other day on 14th of February after the morning liturgy the ceremony of the blessing of newly married couples takes place in all churches to reinforce their love and loyalty alliances. Traditionally on the day of “Terndez” it is accepted to prepare some presents for the newlyweds when visiting them in their homes. Family members dance around the fire 3 or 7 times and jump over it. These numbers are believed to be symbols of fertility, and the fire represents light and purity, here the fire was also used for telling the future: if the flames faced south – east, the year would be plentiful and rich and the opposite, if they faced north – west.