Trndez: Christian Armenians celebrate feast of purification

Traditionally Armenians make a bonfire, go round it and jump over the fire on the evening of February 13 or early on February 14 when the Armenian Church celebrates the Candlemas Day, or Tiarn’ndaraj (Trndez), which is one of the most beloved holidays among newly-weds.

This is a joyful holiday in all provinces and villages of Armenia, as well as in capital Yerevan, celebrated by young adults, newly-weds and all families in general. People make bonfires in their yards, make circles and go round the bonfire, and in the end they jump over the flame. Newly-weds jump over the fire in couples, and on this day recently married women usually receive gifts from their mothers-in-law.

According to a church ritual, the faithful go to churches and take the lit candles home to their families. This is considered to be a Christian feast for newly-weds and families.
“The tradition of making a bonfire resembles the Lord’s light and warmth, and it must not be confused with pagan rituals, when fire was idolized and worshipped. According to Grigor Tatevatsi’s interpretation, jumping over the fire we show its being ignoble and low,” says priest Ter Adam Makaryan.

Priest Ter Markos Mangasaryan explains that jumping over the fire symbolizes joy and happiness for newly-wed youths and families, and it has nothing in common with people’s superstition of getting rid of threats and misfortunes and making wishes, because the true religious belief contradicts the superstitions.

The word ‘Tiarn’ndaraj’ symbolizes the presentation of the 40 day-old Christ Child to the Temple in Jerusalem and glorifies Simeon’s articulation of “a Light to lighten the Gentiles”. This is an appeal to all faithful people to implement the will of God.

On the morning of the Feast Day (February 14), divine liturgies are offered at Armenian churches around the world, followed by the blessing of newly-weds.