Stories through the world of imagesPhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "I Will Talk to You About Time." Fotoistanbul 2015.
Armenian mythology: 6 ancient pagan gods we still love today As a kid, three VHS tapes I’d play over and over—to a point, where I had memorized every single word recorded: Disney’s “Aladdin,” the first “Harry Potter” movie (insert “Sorcerer’s” vs. “Philosopher’s” debate here) and, of course, the funky, gospel-soundtracked “Hercules.” You remember the lyrics: "Who put the 'glad' in 'gladiator?' HERC-U-LES! Whose daring deeds are great theater? HERC-U-LES!" All 9-year-old geeks have obsessed over Greek mythology, Ancient Egyptian history, or dinosaurs and fossils at one point. My weakness: the false gods of Mount Olympia! We Armenians aren’t too different from the Greeks, from geopolitical oppression by neighboring empires, to heavy-liquor-and-folk-dance feasts, our histories often click in harmony. And that’s especially the case for our mythologies where our gods aren’t much different (or less extravagant!). Which gods are the most popular in Armenian mythology and what features make them our all-time-favorites? Read on to find out!
Trndez/Tiarnundaraj: 9 things you didn't know about the age-old Armenian tradition Have you ever witnessed the age-old Armenian tradition of jumping over a ceremonial bonfire in February? Perhaps you’ve participated the longstanding custom, but never understood the story behind it. The ritual has many names: Trndez, Tiarnundaraj, Derendez—but whatever you call it, it’s definitely one of the most fascinating—and potentially dangerous—Armenian traditions, still carried on today.
Ani, the sacred city of memories: A photo story Located in the Western Armenian province of Kars (which lies within Turkey’s borders today), the medieval city of Ani, also known as the “City of 1,001 churches” and the “City of forty gates,” lies in ruins. Nonetheless, its remains—including the magnificent frescoes painted inside its old churches—carry the memories of the sacred city’s glorious past and abundant beauty. Strolling around Ani, I could not help but wonder what these ancient stones would tell us. If only they could speak… What memories and stories would they share?
From this side During his first visit to Western Armenia in Oct. 2013, Canadian-Armenian poet Rupen Khajag wrote the poem «Այս կողմից» ("Ays koghmits," "From This Side") at the base of Mount Ararat. H-Pem presents our translation of the poem accompanied by photographs taken by the author. You can find the original Armenian version of the poem following the translation.
Meet the young Armenian artists of Lebanon To bring something into existence is to create—and “creativity takes courage.” World-renowned French painter Henri Matisse was not wrong when he said these words. Youth are often not given the chance (or the encouragement) in the world of scribbling and sketching. The situation is not too different in the capital of Lebanon, where the Armenian youth of Beirut are often required to get into the more “serious” fields of study. On Sept. 5, the Hamazkayin Lucy Tutunjian Art Gallery held the opening of their first “Collective Exhibition of Young Artists,” a long-overdue and most welcomed event. We at h-pem make it one of our top priorities to ensure that Armenian artists from all around the globe get the exposure they deserve on our platforms. That is why we went ahead and asked the Beirut exhibition participants three simple questions. Through their answers, we present you the 10 young artists who got the opportunity to display and sell their art at the gallery.
Peaceful in Kars: A photo story Unlike the snow-covered, gloomy provincial town where the murders of Orhan Pamuk’s imagination took place, the Kars that welcomed my friend and me on our short trip to Western Armenia was warm, lively, and hospitable; enough to set my soul at ease, after a tumultuous arrival in the country.
'Akh, Tamar!': A photo story Every night, a beautiful Armenian maiden named Tamar would wave a light from Akhtamar Island’s shore in the direction of her lover, who would then swim to her from the mainland to reunite in silence. But Tamar was a princess and the boy, a commoner. When her father found out about their secret meetings, his anger got the best of him. As Tamar was lighting her lover’s way, her father approached her and blew out the light. Without a glow to guide him across Lake Van, the boy drowned in the darkness of the night, wailing, “Akh, Tamar!” (“Oh, Tamar!”).
Navasard: 11 facts about the Armenian New Year you never knew about! We Armenians love our pagan festivals: From Vardavar to Trndez to Boon Barekendan, even the most pious Christians will celebrate these “Christianized” holidays with glee. Yet, the most important date for our ancestors in the pre-Christian era is notably missing from our calendars today. Read on to learn about the ancient Armenian holiday of Navasard!