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From old times to our days …. Easter, Passoer, Pesach or simply Zatik – the Celebration of the Zenith of the Nature

April 11, 2014

Let’s examine what we know about these holidays, their original meanings, where they came from because the origins are different.

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The holiday in Armenia is called Zatik. And only the Armenians kept its pre-christian name. By all means, the ancestors of the Armenians tried to give this important information from generation to generation.

Some people all over the world (like Boulgarians, Russians) consider Easter as Пасха or Песах (Pesah) or Passover, or Pesach (from: פֶּסַח in Hebrew, Yiddish; Tiberian: [pɛsaħ] Modern Hebrew: [ˈpesaχ] Pesah, Pesakh; Yiddish: Peysekh, Paysakh, Paysokh) and celebrate it as an important Biblically-derived but Jewish festival.

Actually, the Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation  from slavery in ancient Egypt  ruled by the Pharaohs, and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

Armenian families put lentils or other sprouting grains on a tray covered with a thin layer of cotton, and keep it in a light place of the house until Zatik when sprouts appear. These green sprouts, symbolizing spring and awakening of nature, are the “grass" on which people place colored eggs to decorate the holiday table. For Armenians, Zatik eggs are prepared by boiling fresh eggs.

Armenian families put lentils or other sprouting grains on a tray covered with a thin layer of cotton, and keep it in a light place of the house until Zatik when sprouts appear. These green sprouts, symbolizing spring and awakening of nature, are the “grass” on which people place colored eggs to decorate the holiday table. For Armenians, Zatik eggs are prepared by boiling fresh eggs.

What it has in common with non-Jewish people I don’t understand. Moreover, I don’t understand why they celebrate the liberation of Jewish people from slavery. It is really strange !!! But it is stranger that the Christian churches try to represent this holiday inherited from the Jewish one. Actually, it has nothing to do neither with Christianity nor with the Jewish. It has pre-christian roots.

So, what is Easter which is represented as Pesah or Pasxa by other people: the modern English term Easter, cognate with modern German Ostern, developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre. This is generally held to have originally referred to the name of a goddess Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess. So, as we see it goes to pagan times which proves that the celebration of this holiday has pre-christian roots.

g_imageNow let’s try to find out who is that Indo-European dawn goddess. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *h₂ewsṓs- or *h₂ausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets. Derivatives of *h₂ewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, old Greek Ἠώς (Ēōs), Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *h₂ews-tro-.

Greek Ἠώς (Ēōs) is the earlist one among the mentioned examples but as usual the official sources forgot to mention the Armenian one. If we take away the common Greek ending os we get Ē (Armenian Է) which in Armenian has a sacred meaning . It is represented as a Divine Essence. More on this subject you can read here https://narinnamkn.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/sacred-letter-%D5%A7-as-a-divine-essence/
The name *h₂ewsṓs is derived from a root *h₂wes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root. The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year.

 for this holiday they put on the table the baked and fresh green, the first grown green of the season

for this holiday they put on the table the baked and fresh green, the first grown green of the season

 for this holiday they put on the table the baked and fresh green, the first grown green of the season

This is very interesting, indeed !!! March 21st is a traditional day for the Armenians. On this day they prepared huge feasts to welcome and celebrate the zenith of the nature. That is the sacred calendar of the Armenians, which was based on the fixed solar calendar, according to which a year consisted of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. This was a perfect calendar, and the New Year coincided with the Areg day of Areg month (Areg meaning ‘sun’, and Ա (A), meaning the first letter of the Armenian alphabet, hence, it means the first day of the first month) – March 21.

As I wrote in one of my articles the word God in Armenian is Ast(d)vats which means “all powerful” or “given of power”. In this context it would refer to physical and spiritual health, clarity of mind or perhaps even salvation. It is known that in ancient times, the only being/s referred to as ‘all powerful’ or ‘brilliant’ was/were the god/s of the past. More on this subject you can find here https://narinnamkn.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/armenian-wheel-of-eternity-six-pointed-star-svastika/

943586_10151532714438043_159474234_nSo actually it is originally the celebration of the zenith of the nature !! And the nature is a female, at least in Armenian. They say Mayr Bnutyun which means Mother Nature.

In this context it is interesting to mention how the Armenians name this holiday, in Armenia it is Zatik. And only the Armenians kept its pre-christian name. By all means, the ancestors of the Armenians tried to give this important information from generation to generation.

Even some Armenian churchmen are trying to make the meaning closer to the word zatel which means seperate and in this way they are trying to “make” some connection with the Jewish legend it brings its real meaning and real roots out.

Zatik in Armenian is Coccinella magnifica. Coccinellidae are known colloquially as ladybirds (in Britain, Ireland, the Commonwealth, and the southern United States), ladybugs (originating in North America) or lady cows, among other names. When they need to use a common name, etnomologists widely prefer the names ladybird beetles or lady beetles as these insects are not true bugs.

Interestingly, these beetles are also known as the beloved creatures or the animals of the God, for example in French they are called bête à bon Dieu, in Russian божья коровка, in Bulgarian божа кравица, in Serbian бoжja òвчица ! In Flemish, for example, they are called lieveheersbeestje which means the beloved beetles of the God.

Amazingly, in Armenia there is an old tradition not to kill these small creatures, if you find one, you need to take, put on your finger, make a wish and say – Fly !! You are free and make my wish come true. Why do these small but nice creatures deserve such a name and such an attitude?

 rice with raisins and dried fruit which symbolizes prosperity

rice with raisins and dried fruit which symbolizes prosperity

It has a direct connection with the nature, with the zenith of the nature. Not many people probably know but our ancestors found out it long before that these creatures are the best fighters with aphids, also known as plant lice. Moreover, they are the most active exterminators of a species of plant-feeding mite that is generally considered a pest, so-called Tetranychus urticae (common names include red spider mite and two-spotted spider mite) which are originally native only to Eurasia, but has acquired a cosmopolitan distribution.

A couple of ladybugs can destroy up to 4000 spider mites. For our ancestors these creatures were the protectors of their good harvest, accordingly the symbols of the prosperity of their families and the land.

The word Zatik is a message from our ancestors, the remembrance of our traditions and the symbol of the celebration of the zenith of the nature. It has nothing to do with zatel or Jewish Passover.

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fish which symbolizes fertility

Armenians are the nation of traditions, for this holiday they put on the table the baked and fresh green, the first grown green of the season, rice with raisins and dried fruit which symbolizes prosperity and fish which symbolizes fertility and wine. Armenian wine making traditions go back to over 6000 years. The modern Armenians possessed a highly developed culture of wine-growing. So for the Armenians wine is a part of their traditions, their heritage, not the symbol of the blood, indeed !

Maybe, some of the readers will go against by saying that fish is a sign of early Christians, yes, they used that symbol but the fact is that even before the Christianity fish was a sacred symbol of fertility. Absorbed into Christian culture, the symbol can become as sacred as it was before. This symbol is not an exception.

Armenian Gata

Armenian Gata

Armenian families put lentils or other sprouting grains on a tray covered with a thin layer of cotton, and keep it in a light place of the house until Zatik when sprouts appear. These green sprouts, symbolizing spring and awakening of nature, are the “grass” on which people place colored eggs to decorate the holiday table. For Armenians, Zatik eggs are prepared by boiling fresh eggs.

One of the Armenian traditions at Easter is the “egg fight.” It’s fun for the kids. Everyone takes an egg  and taps each other’s eggs. One person holds his or her egg and the other tries to break the tip with the egg. The one who has the unbroken egg at the end is the winner and the collector of the all broken eggs!

P.S. Easter is a moveable feast. In the 20th century, some individuals and institutions have propounded a fixed date for Easter, the most prominent proposal being the Sunday after the second Saturday in April. As I mentioned above the celebration of the zenith of the nature is on 21st of March according to the sacred calendar of the Armenians but the Armenian church changed it and made it common to the christian world.

Here I would like to mention that at a summit in Aleppo, Syria, in 1997, the World Council of Churches (WCC) proposed a reform in the calculation of Easter which would have replaced the present divergent practices of calculating Easter with modern scientific knowledge taking into account actual astronomical instances of the spring equinox and full moon based on the meridian of Jerusalem, while also following the Council of Nicea position of Easter being on the Sunday following the full moon.

zatik

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One Comment
  1. Most words were pre-christian. It would be interesting to see what you thought of the etymological breakdown given in wiktionary. There are those who would argue that the realization of holiness through history is similar to a hand held telescope, slowly turning into focus until the image is made perfect.

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