All of the nations in the world have molded their traditions, ceremonies and lifestyles over a long period. Armenia isn't an exception to this. Armenia has created and saved many different traditions and beliefs. Many of which are reflected in rituals and ceremonies today.
The way in which ceremonies are carried out and performed has undoubtedly changed over the years, along with economic and historical alterations. As a result, some celebrations have changed, deprived of their foundations and subsequently vanished. In contrast, some ceremonies have changed and developed a new meaning. Also, religious or political issues and ruling have led to many traditions and the songs that go with them to be forgotten. However, some traditional songs that have reached us in this present day, mainly wedding songs.
Armenian wedding songs are said to be those that directly relate to the actual ceremony, usually played throughout the event. Weddings are often presented as a type of show. They often include many different games, jokes, laments, fables, praise, prayers, dancing and of course, songs.
The wedding ceremony and marriage are crucial within Armenian families, partly due to their patriarchal nature. Armenian wedding celebrations have long been one of the most important events to take place, especially for those that take place in villages as many traditions are still followed religiously.
Certain rules should always be followed to during a wedding ceremony in Armenia. In earlier years, the celebration would last approximately seven days. Each day had a particular purpose and played a crucial part in the couples joining, for example, the preparation of lavash, gata, and a young bull. There are other rules such as the groom's shaving and praising, the brides evening when she is dressed and the 'Tree of Life' decorations.
Traditional songs and dances accompany each special day. Specific instruments compliment the song by adding a special meaning to each stage of the wedding ceremony. Although most of the traditional wedding songs are beautiful, the best are those that praise the bride and groom. The song played while the bride leaves her home is also another emotional and powerful song that guests always remember. There are also some humorous songs that are played with the intention of teasing and mocking family members or the ceremony.
A wedding song can be performed in many different ways. For example, they can be carried out to an audience as a solo piece, duet or in a group. Every song is completed with a consecutive and structural start. It's customary for the songs to be full of glee and happiness to symbolize how the bride and groom's marriage should continue. In many songs the groom is likened to a king. The bride is compared to a beautifully decorated ornament and the moon.
A combination of wedding prayers, supplications and blessings are mere appearances throughout the songs. It's also popular to play humorous songs, usually about the godfathers. However, they are not personal and purely for entertainment value.
While Armenian wedding song traditions stem from many years ago, lots of people still embrace them today to help complete their perfect big day.