Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Khoskgab

The word "khoskgab" (pronounced kh-ohs-gab... if that helps any) actually separates into two words in Armenian: "Khosk" meaning "speak" or "words," and "gahb" meaning "to tie." So literally it means "to tie with words."

Back in the old country, men and women weren't going out on Friday nights to take a moonlit walk along Lake Sevan and watch some sheep grazing. Ok, well maybe they did, but the groom certainly did not go about popping the big question in the same way our grooms do today. Weddings were very much a union of families. In some cases, the bride and groom may not have even known each other. There was no down on bended knee, and no blingy diamond; it was more of an agreement between two families, joining them together, growing their village, and continuing on with the traditions of the past.

The groom's family would journey from their village to the bride's home, offering gifts of livestock, bedding, pillows; nice gifts that the couple would share once they were wed. These would be offered and if the gifts were worth the price of their daughter (this was way before women's lib!), an agreement would be reached, and the proposal would be tied with words.
Maybe this is where "tying the knot" came from?

But this is not the old country, and this is a blog about a MODERN/TRADITIONAL Armenian wedding. So this is how it went down in 2010.

After 5 years of dating, and two weeks after his incredibly romantic proposal to me, Eric and his family came over for a modern day Khoskgab.  The difference? Well for one, we obviously had a lot of say in what was going on. We didn't have to settle on an agreement (Eric already got permission from my parents), and there weren't any real  animals.

The livestock they brought as offering from their village.

Our families were gathered together, and there were beautiful arrangements of flowers, stunning gifts from the family, and lots of love to go around.  We jokingly kept with the traditions, talking about how long their journey must have been from their village; they told us that Eric had to ride on the back of his dog to get there, and the poor dog was tired out.  I even had to pass a "test" where Eric's dad would ask for a glass of water, and I would have to bring it to him balanced neatly on a tray, without spilling.  It was all in good fun, but I actually got nervous and almost spilled the glass!  Thankfully, they love me anyway.

In the end, our families had come together to celebrate, to tie with loving words the proposal between Eric and I, as a proposal that ties our two families together. It was a beautiful night of celebration, happiness, and tears of joy. It was a night of love, a night of family.
Us looking all giddy and excited (and young! amazing what 2 years will do...) Check out all the flowers!