On Sunday, January 22, 2017, the St. Stepanos Women’s Guild and friends gathered after church services for a cooking class led by member, Yester Garabedian. Mrs. Garabedian taught the attendants how to make St. Sarkis Halva. The class was timely as the feast day honoring St. Sarkis occurs around Valentine’s Day each year, this year being on Saturday, February 11, 2017.
The class first learned that the feast day stems from Sarkis, the prince and Persian army general, who 1700 years ago converted his Persian soldiers to Christianity. His actions enraged the Persian king, and Sarkis and his son were killed. Sarkis and his son’s remains were eventually brought to Armenia, where they were buried. Sarkis thereafter gained sainthood status and a church was built at the site of his grave.
St. Sarkis is often referred to as the patron for love and youth. The celebration of St. Sarkis is similar to St. Valentine’s Day, and young boys and girls exchange gifts and sweets. A special sweet treat that is reserved for St. Sarkis Day is St. Sarkis Halva.
During the cooking class, Mrs. Garabedian demonstrated the step by step process to make St. Sarkis Halva, using sugar, rose water, marshmallow fluff, sesame seeds and walnuts. The class then had the opportunity to make the sweet treat themselves with the guidance of Mrs. Garabedian. Everyone had a wonderful time learning the recipe, and enjoyed tasting the treats before heading home.
This was the first cooking class of many Armenian cooking classes to be hosted by the St. Stepanos Women’s Guild this year. We invite all to attend future classes, dates to be announced. Please also save the date, for March 18, 2017, when the St. Stepanos Women’s Guild will be hosting the 2017 Saintly Women’s Day at St. Stepanos Church in Elberon, New Jersey. We look forward to seeing you all there!