What is St. Sarkis Day and What is the History Behind it?
St. Sarkis; the Armenian Valentines Day! If you have Armenian friends and you ask them when Valentine’s Day is, they will most probably talk to you about St. Sarkis Day. While Armenians have many folk traditions, heroes, and legends, one of the most iconic legends is St. Sarkis.
Who was Sarkis?
Sarkis’ story dates to the 1700s when Sarkis was a prince and a Persian army general. He was a great preacher of Christianity which led his Persian soldiers to convert to Christianity. As heroic as that sounds, the king was not pleased, and therefore killed Sarkis and his son. When their remains were brought to Armenia, Sarkis was anointed as a Saint because of his bravery. Sarkis was regarded as the patron saint of storms and love as well as the patron saint of youth.
St. Sarkis Traditions
The St. Sarkis day celebration today is unique to the Armenian Church and is basically the same as that of St. Valentine’s Day. One of the most famous things associated with the holiday is the chewy sweet St. Sarkis Halva filled with nuts. If you’re around an Armenian neighborhood and pass by Armenian pastries during the holiday season, keep an eye out for a white dessert that is rolled and covered in sesame seeds! Another tradition that happens during this holiday is when young girls and boys eat a salty cookie before they go to bed on the night before St. Sarkis. They believe that they will see their future partner in their dream. Additionally, they do not drink any water till someone offers them a cup of water. Whoever offers the water is believed to be their future spouse. Finally, on St. Sarkis Day, young girls and boys exchange gifts and sweets after the church ceremony.
St. Sarkis Halva
The St. Sarkis Halva is one of the most famous traditional Armenian desserts that is loved by many. Its main ingredients are sugar, orange blossom, sesame seeds, and marshmallow cream. Once the Halva dough is made, they stuff it with either pistachios, walnuts, garbanzo beans, or just leave them plain.
At Sarkis Pastry, we make all 4 types of St. Sarkis Halva. The pistachio and walnut halvas are rolled and the garbanzo bean and plain halvas are cut in circles. You can place your pickup orders by contacting us at any of our stores. For shipping orders, you can place your orders online.
Garbanzo Beans Halva