|Our daughter Mandy's christening - May,1982. Father Paree Metjian officiates; Godfather Aram Aslanian, and Godmother - Aunt Dawn Hourdajian participate.|
In the Armenian Apostolic Church, the sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), and Holy Communion are administered at one time. This is the child’s initiation into the Christian community.
The child is baptized as an infant, generally by the 8th day after birth to the 40th day, according to Apostolic Canon #13. This sacrament is administered in the church rather than the home, according to the teachings of the Armenian Apostolic Church - unless it is an extreme emergency, such as a child’s ill health.
Just as birth is necessary to begin life, baptism is necessary for a child to start their life as a “child of God”.
Confirmation provides strength in the child’s body and mind to live as a member of the church. Through Holy Communion, the child receives spiritual nourishment - the body and blood of Jesus Christ, for salvation.
After the ceremony, the celebration begins!
A traditional dish that is served at christening celebrations is Hassa. My Aunt Arpie was the hassa maker for our family’s christenings. Be warned... you must eat this with a very small spoon, and try not to breathe in as you eat it. The powdery ingredients will fill your sinuses!
1 lb. unsalted chick peas, roasted and ground into a powder*
1/3 lb. candy-covered chick peas (set some aside for decoration) *
1/3 lb. candy-covered almonds(set some aside for decoration) *
1/4 lb. candy-covered fennel seeds *
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground anise seed
½ tsp. ground fennel seed
dash ground cardamom*
½ cup powdered sugar
* The starred ingredients can be found in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
1. Ground chick peas in a blender or food processor. Sift and re-grind any coarse pieces until powdery. Place in a large bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the powdered chick peas, and mix thoroughly.
3. Top with candies that were set aside for decoration.
NOTE: Spices can be adjusted according to your taste preference.