Over time, Armenians have developed the best antidote against the brisk winters of a mountainous country. The answer is in a hearty, warm soup, an experience that transcends the mundane act of eating. Prepared over many hours, khash is a soup made from cow hooves, with plenty of garlic and salt, accompanied by the traditional Armenian lavash bread, not to mention the requisite series of vodka shots. Khash is an acquired taste, but an immediate bonding experience, an all-morning institution among Armenians in the winter.
What better place to celebrate the birth of Christ than in the oldest Christian nation? Christmas in Yerevan is a majestic, solemn, and unique experience. Consider Armenia as the place to rediscover and regain your spirituality during the Christmas season, a time of year when stress, materialism, and commercialization can undermine the true meaning of the season. Interestingly, Armenians continue to celebrate Christmas on January 6, as was customary throughout the Christian world until the Roman church changed the day of celebration to December 25.
Winter in Yerevan is peaceful. The hubbub of the outdoor summer cafes and the boisterous throngs of joyful schoolchildren from the autumn give way to the snowy tranquility of the wintertime. Light a candle in the new St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in downtown Yerevan or in a tiny chapel dating back to the times of the Disciples. Duck into a family restaurant for a warm meal and a hot cup of coffee (or a stiff drink!). Use the indoor time to bond, philosophize, or simply spend quality time with quality friends.
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