SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For over four decades, every fall Armenians from all over the region have been coming to Saint Gregory’s Church in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield to celebrate their heritage with music, food, dance, and more.
22News spoke to two members of the local community who have made this an annual tradition for all 46 years it’s been put on by the church.
“It’s important for us to keep that heritage alive and we do that, not only through church but also functions such as this,” said Leo Vartanian of Longmeadow.
“To have an event where many of the Armenians from near and far will attend it, it just makes us feel that we’re not alone,” added Arax Charkoudian of Springfield. “It just brings the history of our ancestors back to us.”
Typically, the annual Armenian Fall Festival would be a big enthusiastic celebration but this year there’s a more somber feel. And that’s because of what’s currently going on in Armenia, something everyone at the festival wants everyone to know about.
Over 5,000 miles away, ethnic Armenians have been entrenched in war and genocide, resulting in countless deaths and tens of thousands of evacuations. And all of this conflict comes just over 100 years after the Armenian genocide when over a million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire.
22News spoke to Tanya Garibian, Chairman of Saint Gregory’s Church board, about the impact recent events in Armenia have had on celebratory gatherings. “… It’s kind of hard for us to celebrate as much as we normally do, given what’s happening in our homeland.”
The church is donating every single dollar raised from the festival Saturday to those currently affected in Armenia.
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