Although most Armenian churches still do not hold services on Sundays, religion is still an important part of life. Prayers are said before meals and before going to bed. The families will attend services on holy days, and they may make pilgrimages to one of the many old churches or monasteries dotting the countryside. Family members will go to church to say individual prayers, and they will mark important anniversaries such as births and deaths by all going to church to light candles and say prayers.
If someone new comes into the family’s life, such as a foreign visitor or a relative they have not seen in a long time, the person will be treated as if he or she were royalty. The parents might even miss work to take this newcomer to a museum. The children will be asked to give up their bedrooms. A large meal will be served with elaborate toasts and courses of food that can last for hours. When a special festival is held in town, the children will be dressed in traditional Armenian costumes, with white blouses and colorful skirts for the girls, and white shirts with dark pants and colorful belts and hats for the boys. They will perform traditional circle dances, listen to traditional folk music, and perhaps watch as their parents become nostalgic when a traditional love song is played.
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