January 20, 2016
During the academic term of Winter 2016, the AGBU Armenian Virtual College students met around two virtual events â€“ the festival of Barekendan, and the holidays of St. Sargis and Tiarnâ€™ndaraj.
The pre-lent festival of Barekendan has very entertaining rituals and celebrations that go along with it. Through the event, AVC Online Instructors informed the participants of the rich background about the ritual, and conveyed the enthusiastic and amusing atmosphere of the festival. To remain true to the spirit of Barekendan, Online Instructors demonstrated the Aklatis, a puppet made of onion and chicken feathers resembling a scare-crow. They also shared the rhymes and songs of the holiday with their students, as well as recipes of dishes and pastries typical of the festival.
The holidays of St. Sargis and Tiarnâ€™ndaraj were combined in one virtual event to tell the participants how love was celebrated among Armenians through religious holidays and rituals. The Online Instructors guided the students through the customs of both holidays, such as eating salty cookies (aghi blit) for a restless night on the eve of St. Sargis, and jumping over the bonfire during Tiarnâ€™ndaraj. Designed to supplement the online courses, AVCâ€™s virtual events are periodically conducted for current and past students.
Through these events, participants learn about Armenian life, traditions and culture, and experience virtual socialization with fellow students.