Leaping over the flames on “Trndez” in Armenia

Armenians gathered on February 13 outside Saint Anna Church in Yerevan and Holy Mother of God Church in Garni to celebrate “Trndez,” a festival with ancient roots tied to Zoroastrian traditions venerating the sun and fire. 

This occasion marks the onset of spring and fertility, carrying a tapestry of folk beliefs. For newlyweds, it holds particular significance as they leap over flames, believing that if touched, they will soon be blessed with children. It has been observed that the weather traditionally begins to warm after this day.

Trndez’s history is rich, tracing back to Zoroastrian and Pagan origins, predating Armenia’s conversion to Christianity in 301 A.D. Originally named “Derendez,” it was later christened “Dyaruntarach,” meaning “bringing forward of the Lord.” The term “Trndez” itself carries the essence of “the Lord is with you.”

Commemorations typically include church services followed by the lighting of bonfires, symbolizing divine light and warmth and the advent of spring and fertility. Participants encircle these fires, jumping over them as a ritual. “Dyaruntarach” is intricately linked with the purification feast of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic Churches, celebrated 40 days after the nativity. It commemorates the presentation of the Lord to the Temple by Mary and Joseph and the confirmation of Jesus’ revelation as God.

Anthony Pizzoferrato
Anthony Pizzoferrato is an Italian American freelance photojournalist, documentarian and filmmaker based in Yerevan, Armenia. His work places emphasis on reporting and documenting conflicts, political events, complex social issues, human rights and cultural history within post-Soviet states and the Middle East while creating understanding, intimacy and empathy. His work on the war in Ukraine and protests in Yerevan has been published in Getty Reportage.

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