As early as 1906 in New York City and 1910 in Boston, young men from Marash gathered together to form “education societies” to fund and support educational and cultural development in their home town of Marash within the Ottoman Empire.
Formalizing their relationships in 1925, the first convention of the Union of Marash Armenians was held to establish bylaws and rules for its chapters including chapters in Boston, Springfield, Mass., New York, and Patterson, N.J.
Continuing in the tradition of supporting educational and cultural development in Marash communities all over the world, the Union of Marash Armenians, Watertown Chapter, is celebrating its centennial year with a cocktail reception on Saturday evening, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m., at the ACEC Hovnanian Hall, 47 Nichols Ave. in Watertown, Mass.
Featuring guest speaker, Massachusetts State Representative Peter Koutoujian (grandson of a survivor from Marash), the event will be in the tradition of the Union of Marash Armenian gatherings with opera singer Victoria Avedisian and violinist Hayg Hovsepian, accompanied by Ani Hovsepian on the piano. Again in the tradition of the yergir, Berj Chekijian, son of a survivor, will give a recitation in Armenian. An exhibition of photos by Marie Bazarian will feature Marash needlework, and the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) will mount an exhibit of the life of successful Boston businessman Moses Gulusian, a native of Marash. Well-known videographer Roger Hagopian (son of a survivor) will present his new video entitled “Marash and Famous Marashtsi Armenians.”
The master of ceremonies will be Lalig Musserian with president Nevart Kouyoumjian giving the opening remarks.