Surb Zatik – Easter in Armenia

Surb Zatik – Easter in ArmeniaTranslated from Armenian, “Surb Zatik” (Սուրբ Զատիկ) means “Sacred Easter”. Zatik is the name of an ancient Armenian deity of fertility. Ancient Armenians prayed and worshipped him for their lands to be fertile, the year to be productive, and each harvest to be pleasing. Armenians believed that the more they appealed to Zatik, the more harvest they would receive.

It’s quite difficult to understand why the name of an ancient deity of fertility has been and is used to denote one of the main Christian holidays. A number of philologists think that consonant words “azatvel” (to free oneself) and “zatik” merged together to form the name we know today.

Interestingly, in Armenia, trees are being consecrated during the celebration of Zatik, which is the main characteristic feature of the Armenian Easter. Typically, only garden trees are being consecrated. During the ritual, the elder women of the house take a walk in their home gardens. There are obvious parallels between this rite and the ancient deity Zatik.

First of all, Zatik is a family holiday for the Armenians. Sons and daughters visit their paternal homes, relatives visit each other with Easter baskets with red eggs, red wine, and a figure of Aklatiz, a male equivalent of another ancient Armenian deity of fertility Nurin. The figures of the deity are decorated with onions and stones, and symbolize family luck, prosperity, and protect the spouses from family mischance. Such figures are also presented to spouses only.

In conclusion, taking the opportunity, we wish you Happy Easter! May this Easter bring you, your friends, and your family all together for a great celebration day!

by Alexandr Bakulin

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