Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, Armenians are often very direct in their behavior. Going straight to the point even in relatively sensitive conversation topics is not intended to embarrass anyone, it just is not considered meaningful to walk like the cat around hot porridge. Conversations are also usually conducted at a much closer distance between the people than a Swede is used to.
When two men greet each other, the handshake is often followed by a cheek kiss if they are close acquaintances, while women usually give each other a hug and a cheek kiss. When a woman and a man meet, the man is expected to be the one who initiates a handshake. This is especially true in rural areas.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Armenia, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
There is generally a big difference between the major cities and the Armenian countryside in terms of attitudes and behaviors. This can be anything from the fact that urban dwellers are more connected to each other during the conversations, to the fact that women in the cities are considerably more free in job choices and attire. Traditionally, and still in the countryside, a married woman is expected to stay home and take care of children and households. For example, if she has been sporting before, she ends up with it when she gets married. Yerevan no longer has such rules. A foreign woman visiting the Armenian countryside should remember that she makes a bad impression if she smokes in public, wears tight clothes or a short skirt.
In a more formal context, it is important to be cared for. Armenian women in the cities usually attach great importance to their clothing.
In modern Armenian working life, the principle of equal pay applies to equal work, but women are to a large extent in poorly paid jobs. On average, a woman has about two-thirds of a man’s salary. Nearly two-thirds of those registered as unemployed are women. Political life in Armenia is also strongly male dominated.
Meetings and dinner invitations rarely start exactly on time. Coming half an hour late for a dinner is not considered foolproof. Even if a meeting is to start “in five minutes” it can, in the worst case, take several hours before it starts.
Armenian food culture revolves around grilled meat. Dinner parties often apply to barbecue parties. Bringing your own wine is considered normal, but is not necessary. A chocolate box or a flower bouquet is usually enough as a gift to the host. Wrapped presents are rarely opened directly before the eyes of the donor and others.
Leaving leftovers on the plate at a dinner party isn’t really a good idea.
The most basic basic food is bread and salt, which over time has become so deeply symbolic that “friendship” is often defined by who you share bread and salt with. The diplomatic protocol also stipulates that foreign guests are welcomed with bread and salt.
The pomegranate is considered the national fruit and also has a symbolic link to fertility. Overall, a lot of fruits and nuts are used in Armenian cooking. There are also plenty of dishes that are based on vegetables being filled with or wrapped around rice or minced meat, such as vine leaves, white cabbage, mangold, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes.
Meat and fish pots often contain different kinds of beans and thick sauces, not often based on tomatoes or yogurt. The seasoning is usually quite mild.
Most desserts are also based on fruits and nuts.
Armenia produces many kinds of mineral water and beer. The wines often have some sweetness, and there are several kinds of fruit wines, made on, for example, pomegranates or apricots. Armenian brandy has a good reputation and is also an export product.
Most weekends in Armenia are devoted to important events in the country’s modern history. A special occasion commemorates the commemoration of the genocide in the Ottoman Empire, which is celebrated by Armenians around the world on April 24. In Yerevan, hundreds of thousands of people usually go to the Tsitsernakaberd monument, where they lay flowers at an eternal flame. On April 24, 1915, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were expelled from Istanbul, for later execution. The deportations became the starting point for the deportations and mass murders that began later that year in the Armenian areas of eastern Turkey and which continued into the 1920s.
According to Countryaah, on May 9, Victory and Peace Day, dedicated to both the Soviet victory of the Second World War and the entry of Armenian soldiers into the city of Shushi (Şuşa in Azerbaijani Turkish) in Nagorno-Karabach 1992, was a crucial event in the war over the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
On Republic Day, May 28, the establishment of the first – short-lived – Armenian Republic is celebrated in 1918. On December 7, Armenians remember the victims of the 1988 earthquake, when the small town of Spitak was wiped out and at least 25,000 people lost their lives in a large area in the northwest of the country.
Less solemn and emotionally charged are every-thing, even spelled goods, “the water day” on the 14th Sunday after Easter, when it is free for everyone to spray water on anyone who comes nearby. Since each of them falls in the middle of summer, the sudden showers – even the unpleasant little water poured over your head from a balcony – are a welcome welcome to cool off in the heat. Each of these can be traced back to pre-Christian times, when it was a harvest festival dedicated to the goddess of water and fertility.
Many of Armenia’s road and rail links with foreign countries previously passed through Azerbaijan, but they have been cut since 1989. Armenia’s isolation increased further when Turkey joined the blockade in 1993.
The most important road connection today is the Kadjaran road between Armenia and Iran. In Armenia, too, traffic and transport are mainly on the country’s roads, even though the road network is poorly maintained. There are plans to, in collaboration with Georgia, build a highway in the north-south direction.
The railways are age-old, but there are routes to Iran and Georgia. An international airport is located outside the capital Yerevan. The Lincy Foundation, a private relief organization run by Armenians in the United States, has helped improve communications, especially around Yerevan.
The self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh inside Azerbaijan has been maintaining a land link with Armenia over Azerbaijan since 1992 with the help of the Armenian Army – the one-mile wide so-called Latin corridor. Within this, a road has been built where goods are transported to and from Nagorno-Karabach by truck. The road construction was largely financed with donations from Armenians living in the United States.