By Aram Arkun
LITTLE NECK, N.Y. — A celebration of Vartavar took place at the Armenian Society center in Little Neck on Sunday, July 11 which was attended by some 135 adults and 35 children. Though primarily organized for the enjoyment of children — various games with water, including wading pools, were arranged in the yard of the center — there were plenty of activities for adults too. They were able to enjoy shish kebab and other delicacies, and listen or dance to Armenian music performed by Nshan Kiramidzhyan. Dedicated soccer fans could watch the World Cup on a giant television screen indoors.
Armenian families from Long Island, Queens,and other parts of New York City and New Jersey participated, along with a few from further away, and some non-Armenian friends or spouses. They were from all types of backgrounds, born in countries such as the US, Iran, Armenia, Bulgaria and Turkey. There were even two clerics present, one from the Prelacy and another from the Diocese.
This was probably the only organized secular celebration of Vartavar in the New York area. The goal of the event, organizer Lana Kazangian declared, was “to celebrate Armenian traditions.” Furthermore, “we bring a new community of people to the Armenian Society. The building and society needs to be kept so that my own children and the coming generations will be able to benefit from it as an active center. These activities keep people interested in this place. The most important thing is to attract new families to join the Armenian Society.” This celebration is part of a broader “Playdate” program of children’s activities for Armenians in the New York metropolitan area organized and sponsored by the Kazangian family.
These efforts spring in part from a family misfortune, as Lana Kazangian explained: “My mother used to volunteer with the Society when she first came to the US back in the 1960s. She organized children’s programs. When my mother, Aida Kazangian, became ill and passed away, three years ago this August, we decided to organize some children’s activities ourselves. This is part of the healing process for me and my sister. It was a good way for us personally and for the Society too.”