For Armenians in America, New Year's Day is a joyously unambiguous holiday.
Most of us celebrated Western Christmas on Dec. 25, but with an asterisk: our Christmas doesn't arrive until Jan. 6.
Even that requires some explanation, which we'll skip for now except to note that Armenian Christmas is more holy day than holiday -- a day for prayer, not presents.
Which brings us back to today, when Armenians the world over share fun and feast -- the latter being of particular interest to us.
The Armenian Web site NEWS.am tells us that the tradition of celebrating the New Year with family and friends is very much alive in the homeland, although many Armenians now take the occasion to travel abroad.
Their report notes that the traditional celebration begins with at least a couple of days of baking pastries. The lucky child is the one who finds a coin baked in his bread, which signals a lucky year to come.
Another report on the Web site Aysor.am tells us that Armenians traditionally begin the New Year by cleaning the house, which makes sense to us if company's coming for dinner. But the common custom of feasting actually contradicts an earlier tradition of fasting. At most, the historic New Year's table was limited to dishes made of grains and fruits.
But although the economic climate in Armenia remains challenging for many, a report on PanArmenian.net notes that the average family will spend nearly $700 on food for today's gathering. (Yes, that's 700 dollars American!)
That's just the reality of rising prices for fruit, nuts, cheese and meat -- along with drinks and snacks.
The report concludes that "the New Year table will cause a crack in family budget but people do not care. Happy New Year!"
We couldn't have said it better!