St. Sarkis is one of the most beloved saints in Armenia. He is known as the warrior patron of love and youth. Every year Armenians celebrate the feast day of St. Sarkis and his soldiers sometime between January 11th and February 15th. According to folk stories, upon their return from a victorious battle, St. Sarkis and 39 of his soldiers, celebrated at a royal palace. As they drank and went to sleep, the King ordered 40 women to kill the saint and his soldiers. 39 women killed the soldiers, however, the one ordered to kill St. Sarkis fell in love with him and kissed him instead. St. Sarkis woke up with a rage seeing what had happened, took the woman and left the city.
Photo source Western Diocese of the Armenian Church
Because of this story, people in love symbolized St. Sarkis. Accordingly, the night before the feast day, young people ate salty cookies, also known as Aghablit, prayed and hoped to see their future bride or groom in their dream. Also, people placed a tray of flour before the door, believing that while passing at dawn, St. Sarkis would leave the footprints of his horse on the flour, symbolizing the fulfillment of their dreams. On the day of the feast, people in love presented each other with gifts, flowers, and sweets. It can be said that St. Sarkis Day is the Armenian version of Valentine's Day. Nowadays, the tradition continues. Usually single girls eat the salty cookie and go to bed thirsty, hoping for their future groom to appear in their dream and bring them water. Similarly, the horseshoe continues to be a symbol of good luck and protection.
Photo source The Armenian Kitchen
There have been many stories of individuals who have seen their significant other in their dream and married them soon after! Superstition or not, celebrating the feast day and preparing the Aghablit has become a part of the Armenian traditions.
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