On Friday night, we went to the young professionals' event with the Catholicos, or, as I have now learned we call him in Armenian, Vehapar Der. All the information about this event gave very strong warnings that you needed to be on the guest list, they were going to check IDs, and if you weren't on the list, you couldn't get in. When we got there, the man with the list didn't even check. He just waved me on through. When he saw my naturally-blond odar* husband, though, he stopped him and said, "Who are you??" I had to go back and say no, we were both on the list! We got a good chuckle out of that. It was a pretty brunette crowd there!
The program was really nice; I got to trot out Mer Hayrenik for the crowd singalong at the beginning, which I learned during my time crashing the youth choir at my old church. There are still so many times when I don't know ANYTHING about what is going on, so it was great to feel a little smug like, "hey! I actually know something now!" One of the big highlights of the evening was the Sayat Nova dance company , who were just terrific. I hadn't seen them dance before. Then the Catholicos stood up and said a few words about how happy he was to see that Armenian culture was still being carried on and flourishing here in the diaspora. I think you probably only see this in places like LA, Boston, maybe Detroit, where there is a large Armenian population. Since I grew up in a place with not that many Armenians, I didn't have the opportunity to go to Armenian School (the community did try to put one together when I was really little, but it wasn't really a success), or have my mom force me to take Armenian dance lessons. I think that the Internet is great for Armenians across the Diaspora, because at least now, even if you are in a small community, you can still learn and be exposed to some aspects of the language and culture.
A comment on a previous post suggested that I add pictures, and I now have some! Most of them are pretty awful, though. Our camera has never been the same since it fell off a rock during my husband's hiking trip this summer. Here are two pictures from the Young Professionals' event on Friday night. The first one is before the ceremony, and the second one was taken afterwards.
Vehapar is the one in the purple hat. Just in case you couldn't figure that out.
More on today's Hrashapar service in the next post.