Religious Holidays

Armenians have a civilization of over 6000 years. During that long time, they had several calendars. The oldest calendar is believed to have been terminated in 23rd century B. C., when they switched to more accurate calendar that was based on Hayk star, homonymous to the forefather of the Armenian nation. In middle ages, however, Armenians were practicing Earth centered calendars.

The number 7 has a big role in Armenian astrology and therefore the calendar. It was clear to the Armenians that the moon is visible only 28 days out of a month. It has 4 distinct cycles: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, Third Quarter, each lasting exactly 7 days. There are 7 terrestrial planets orbiting the Sun. 7 days in a week, and every 7th day being the day of the God. Jesus resurrected on Sunday. The word for Sunday in Armenian is kiraki (Armenian: Կիրակի) which means God in Greek.

Long before Christianity and Paganism, Armenians were monotheists, meaning they believed in only one god. However, over time, they started to deify the characteristics of the God, like his strength, wisdom, honesty, etc. These separate branches led to having separate gods for each of the characteristics. This is how Paganism was born.

Armenians are the first nation who adopted Christianity as a state religion. Being more than 1700 years old, the calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church has undergone several major changes and corrections. The biggest of which was due to the first meeting of religious leaders in Nikia in 325.

The current calendar of festivities is based on Simyon of Yerevan calendar that he finalized in 1774. It includes 36 groups of specially arranged festivities so that none of them is either on Wednesday or Friday. According to the New Testament Judas decided to betray Jesus on Wednesday, while the day that Jesus died was a Friday. Some fests must be celebrated on exact day of a week. The 36 groups of festivities are connected with one of 36 letters of the Armenian Alphabet.

Some festivities have fixed dates. Most, however, are mobile and the correct dates need to be calculated. Most of them are Easter-based, meaning their dates are directly dependent on that of the Easter. The Armenian Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first fool moon after the spring equinox. It can occur only between March 22nd and April 26th. There are 35 days between those two dates, and the number of days between Easter day and April 26 determines which group of festivities designed by Simyon of Yerevan will be chosen.

This method is based on several tremendously accurate calculations and holds many keys to solving complex scientific and astronomical problems. The calendar is only one day off in 3333.3 (3) years, which makes it the most accurate calendar ever created. One of the greatest minds in the history of astrology Anania Shirakatsi has a huge contribution in the creation of the calendar. His work called Knnikon is the basis of the calendar.

There are about 300 festive days on the church calendar. You can follow the link to find out if today is a festive day.