Armenian Culture Day Celebrates Food, Music

Aris Allahverdian

The Armenian colors red, blue and orange decorated Plaza Vaquero Thursday afternoon, as loud, energetic Armenian music was part of a festive barbecue, hosted by the Armenian Student Association (A.S.A.) for GCC’s annual Culture Day.

Various different demonstrations were scheduled throughout the afternoon during Culture Day. Mediterranean barbecue could be smelled from one end of campus to the other, and Armenian music lured students to get up and dance.

The music could be heard bouncing off the walls of the Admissions and San Rafael buildings.

The association prepared a number of visual displays that presented a sample of traditional Armenian culture and its impact in America. A collection of cardboard exhibits presented a more in-depth look at Armenians and their heritage.

One of the exhibits featured Armenian contemporary art, which showed the differences from earlier generations to modern times in Armenian art culture and how it has advanced.

Also among the many exhibits was a display about the landmarks of Armenia, providing an inside look at the country’s beautiful sceneries and ancient architecture that date back to the 1700s. Another exhibit was strictly dedicated to modern photos of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and its enchanting churches and historical buildings surrounding the very old city borders.

Another exhibit displayed famous Armenians, including playwright and performance artist Eric Bogosian, MGM Mirage owner and CEO Kirk Kerkorian, singer and song writer Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) as well as all the members in the popular heavy metal band System of a Down, who are just a few familiar names from a colossal list of accomplished talent.

Other exhibits ranged from the different types of Armenian musical instruments, famous Armenian literature and precise maps of Yerevan and Armenia.

The smell of garlic-marinated kabob seductively teased many students as they stood in what appeared to be a fairly long line, scaling from one end of the plaza to the center of the Admissions Building doors.

For $6, people were spoiled with a Mediterranean lunch and drink that any carnivore would love to sink their teeth into. Marinated pork and chicken were lined up on a skew and were cooked over a steaming grill. Rotated by hand, each skew held about four to five meat slices. A healthy portion of hummus and chopped pepper veggie salad, with a dash of lemon juice as the appetizer, was served.

The disc jockey played some Armenian music hits known to always get everyone in good spirits. Echoes of the enthralling music could be heard from the parking lot structure all the way to the Planetarium, as students gathered around in a circle to dance off some of the food.

The ASA also arranged a special dance recital. Dancers Anoush Kazarian and Lilit Satarian from the Vartan & Siranoush International Dance Group gracefully managed their way to center of Plaza Vaquero as they prepared for their dance. Both Kazarian and Satarian looked as if they were floating as they spun from one direction to another, crossing paths in sequential zigzags while expressively motioning their arms from the skies above toward their lonesome hearts. This Armenian dance is meant to attract the opposite sex in a subservient yet seductive fashion.

While the line for the barbecue still stretched across the plaza and all signs of performance were done, the DJ turned up the volume and continued to play Armenian hits generally associated with weddings and birthdays, inviting anyone that still had the energy to get up and dance.

Glendale is well-known for its large Armenian community. Among all the cities in the world, Glendale comes third to having the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia, after Moscow and Los Angeles. GCC’s Armenian Culture Day helped bring students together and inform those new in the neighborhood that simply were not familiar with the pleasant and passionate people known as Armenians. As Armenians say in a form of greeting. “Du lav el es, yesell lav em!” (“If you’re doing good, then we’re doing better.”)