Yerkrapah Day in Armenia
Yerkrapah Day, also known as the Day of the Defenders of the Homeland, is an annual celebration in Armenia, commemorating the bravery and dedication of the Armenian volunteer fighters who played a crucial role in the defense of the country. The event is called "Yerkrapah" in the local language, which means "Defender of the Land." Yerkrapah Day is celebrated on November 8th each year.
Yerkrapah Day was first celebrated in 1999, as a tribute to the Armenian volunteer soldiers who participated in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, which took place between 1988 and 1994. These volunteers, known as Yerkrapah, played a significant role in the conflict, fighting for the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the security of Armenia. The Yerkrapah movement was founded by Vazgen Sargsyan, an Armenian military commander and politician, who later became the Prime Minister of Armenia.
The establishment of Yerkrapah Day not only honors the sacrifices made by these volunteers but also serves as a reminder of the importance of unity, patriotism, and selflessness in times of crisis.
National customs for Yerkrapah Day in Armenia
On Yerkrapah Day, Armenians pay homage to the volunteer soldiers and their families by attending various events and ceremonies held throughout the country. These include military parades, wreath-laying ceremonies at the graves of fallen soldiers, and speeches by political leaders, military personnel, and Yerkrapah veterans. Patriotic songs and cultural performances are also common during the celebrations.
The Yerkrapah Day also serves as an opportunity to recognize and award the surviving members of the Yerkrapah movement for their bravery and dedication to the nation. The President of Armenia often presents medals and awards to veterans and their families.
Local customs for Yerkrapah Day in Armenia
Each region in Armenia may have its unique ways of celebrating Yerkrapah Day. In some communities, memorial services are held in local churches, where prayers are offered for the souls of the deceased fighters. Additionally, local schools and cultural institutions may organize educational programs, exhibitions, and discussions about the history and significance of the Yerkrapah movement, fostering a sense of patriotism and pride among the younger generations.
In the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the significance of Yerkrapah Day is particularly strong, as the local population directly experienced the sacrifices made by the Yerkrapah fighters. Here, people may gather to share stories about the war, honor the memories of the fallen, and express gratitude to the veterans who contributed to the defense of their homeland.
Yerkrapah Day in Armenia is a solemn yet significant event that honors the brave volunteer soldiers who fought to protect the nation during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Through various customs and ceremonies, Armenians remember the sacrifices made by these heroes and celebrate their spirit of patriotism and unity, which continues to inspire the nation today.