RACINE, Wis. — On Sunday, June 27, 2021, St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church will hold its annual Armenian Madagh Picnic at their church grounds, 4100 North Newman Road, in Racine. St. Hagop’s has held this traditional event since 1938.
The word “Madagh” means offering and goes back to the time of Abraham who was willing to offer his only son, Isaac, to God to prove his love, faith and obedience to the Lord. “When God witnessed this testimony, He asked Abraham to spare his son and offer a ram instead. Today, St. Hagop’s Madagh is an expression of that same love, faith and gratitude to the Lord for all that He has bestowed on us. Armenians throughout the world have designated places of pilgrimage where they go to worship and offer a meal of Madagh to the community,” says Chairman Zohrab Khaligian.
Antranig Mikaelian, top, scoops some beef and onion stew into Vache Mikaelian’s pot at St. Hagop Armenian Church’s annual picnic in 2019 at H.F. Johnson Park, shortly before attendees celebrated the Armenian tradition of Madagh.
For over 80 years, St. Hagop Armenian Church has sustained this old-country tradition. Armenians and non-Armenians alike gather for the Madagh to enjoy a day of live Armenian music, dancing, church service, and perhaps most importantly, food. This year, the St. Hagop Armenian Church is pleased to announce that through donations from their dedicated community members and friends, they have already collected over $7,500 for this year’s amended event.
“People would travel from near and far to partake in the festivities of the day. And our church would have been well underway preparing Cheese Puffs/Penerlee (hand-rolled flaky pastry filled with gooey cheese), Sari Bourma and Pakhlava (handmade flaky layers of buttery phyllo dough filled with cinnamon-sugar walnuts and finished with cinnamon-scented syrup), and over 4,500 Sarma (delicately hand-rolled grape leaves stuffed with a vegetarian mixture of rice and vegetables), true Armenian delicacies for picnic-goers. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus epidemic, for the 2nd year in a row only the traditional Madagh (beef stew) and bulghur (cracked wheat rice) will be prepared and served as the drive-thru item in one-quart containers,” says Khaligian.