PanARMENIAN.Net - The symbols of Easter in the old days were straw dolls Grandma Utis, mistress of the Armenian cuisine, and Grandpa Paz, who held in the hands exactly 40 threads, a stone being tied at the end of each one. With each approaching day of Easter a stone was untied, thus performing calculation of the days.
With about two weeks left till Easter, people used to grow wheat on plates. This custom has been preserved till now. An integral part of Easter home decorations also used to be the puppets Aklatis as well as the Easter tree, which on Friday evening, a day before Easter, was decorated with eggs embroidered with colorful threads.
According to painter Lusik Aguletsi, the puppets Aklatis as a symbol of good luck were put in the house since the first day of Lent. According to belief, it symbolized the male origin. And after Easter, women had to burn or throw Aklatis into water. In the old days on Easter Armenian women cooked "Nvik" from "white greens", and "kutap" - a pie with onion and bean filling. Because Easter was also believed to be time for fortune-telling, Armenian women baked "gata", in which they put a coin. The already baked gata was cut among the family members and unprecedented success awaited the one who would find the coin. According to another belief, luck was dealt out on Easter, and the one who would fall asleep that night would lose his opportunity of getting a stroke of luck.
On Saturday evening there were to be fish, greens and sweet rice on the table, which marked the end of Lent, during which meat dishes were undesirable. In Armenia and Diaspora greens are served in a variety of ways: in Iran, for example, Armenians fry different herbs with eggs, while in Armenia people prepare only one variety of fresh herbs: spinach, asparagus or "sibekh", which grows only on the Armenian Plateau.
In old times, folk festivals continued till late night. On Monday it is customary to visit the graves of the dead. It should be noted that in the Armenian Church Calendar the Monday after a patronal festival is a Remembrance Day.