A Taste of Armenia

When Armenians started migrating to the United States in the late 1800’s, it is fair to say that nobody knew what an Armenian was.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the Armenians marked their presence in the West Coast of the United States.

In the wake of the First World War and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Armenians embarked on the new journey of immigration, settling in Los Angeles. Resistant at first, the Angelenos opened their doors and hearts to the people and their culture which they carried along with them.

Soon after, Glendale became home to the biggest Armenian population outside of their native, small Caucasian country.

It seemed as if moving to the new land had depleted them of everything that mattered. After all, they did leave everything behind. Almost everything.

With them they brought old recipes of their great-grandmothers. They brought music, which they danced and sang back at home. They brought their culture with them.

They opened bakeries and restaurants and crafts shops; starting to really feel at home.

Decades have passed since then and many generations later, the traditions and values remain.

Every fall, the Armenian youth—and not only—host events to educate and enrich surrounding communities about their culture; things that many people have neglected to notice in the world of extensive negativity.

Glendale Community College’s Armenian Student Association (ASA) wasn’t one to stay behind as they organized an event to parade their culture in their beloved college. Armenian Cultural Day was held on Nov. 9 on campus. Students, staff and locals attended to get a close feel for what it’s like to be an Armenian.

The tricolor flag waved high as the GCC dance team performed to the plangent melody of duduk, a musical instrument native to Armenia.  They also danced to more upbeat songs by modern-day Armenian singers.

Dancers and dance team members Sera Shahgholian and Celine Voskanyan choreographed the all-female performances for the event. Three weeks and six rehearsals later, the five girls were ready for a perfect show.

In the grass area of Plaza Vaquero, male students grilled kabobs, Armenian style.

Informational booths were set up to educate attendees about the broad history of Armenia.

For a brief minute, those who were there to learn, got one step closer to understanding the depths of the culture, and the Armenian student body felt as if they were in their homeland.

It’s no secret that Glendale College is home to a large Armenian student body. Indeed, much of the college’s faculty and staff also come from Armenian origins. Some are from Armenia, while others hail from Russia, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and even Turkey.

It’s been over a hundred years since the Armenian population experienced a heavy blow, in which hundreds of thousands were murdered.

GCC’s event showed that Armenians have persevered and triumphed.