Turkey: Feast held in the last remaining Armenian village
The Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Holy Mother of God, has begun to be celebrated in Turkey's last remaining Armenian village, Vakef, writer Bora Selim Gul said Sunday on Twitter.
"Armenians from all around Anatolia & Istanbul arrived in Antioch this weekend to celebrate it here. May this holiday bring blessings to Antioch," he added.
The Feast of the Virgin Mary began to be celebrated in Turkey's last remaining Armenian village, Vakef. Armenians from all around Anatolia & Istanbul arrived in Antioch this weekend to celebrate it here. May this holiday bring blessings to Antioch.— Selim | سليم (@borabinyousef) August 13, 2022
????Vakef, Musa Dagh, Antioch pic.twitter.com/I0Ma3xOqIl
Located on the slopes of the Musa Dagh in Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay, the village of Vakef was one of the several Armenian villages in the area, the residents of which were forcibly displaced in the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
The area also has a historical significance as it is marked by a rare resistance during which the villagers repelled attacks by Turkish troops for weeks before they were transported to Port Said, Egypt, by the French.
The inhabitants of seven Armenian villages returned to their homes after Antioch (officially Hatay after 1939) came under French occupation upon the defeat of the Ottoman Empire when the First World War ended.
Following an agreement between France and Turkey and a referendum, the district was annexed by Turkey in June 1939, after which the populations of six Armenian villages left their home country to settle in Lebanon, while the residents of Vakef (officially Vakifli) chose to stay.
The Feast of St. Mary
The Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary constitutes one of the great feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Sarkis Seropyan, one of the co-founders of the Armenian newspaper Agos in Turkey, had noted in one of his articles earlier that the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, or the Feast of Asdvadzadzin, coincided with the beginning of the Old New Year, and has come to be celebrated as a vine harvest feast.
Reporting from the village of Vakef, Bora Selim Gul posted images of people performing traditional dances, and seven giant boilers symbolizing seven Armenian villages in the area.
"Boilers are ready. Time to make harissa/hrise for the feast! These 7 boilers symbolize the 7 villages of Musa Dagh."