The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas and the Epiphany on January 6. Since the church day starts at 17.00, Christmas Eve is celebrated on January 5th. In the evening, the Holy Liturgy of Chragaluyts is served in all Armenian churches.
The word “Chragaluyts” in translation from Armenian means “lighting of lamps, candles”. That is why on this evening people take lighted lamps and candles with them from the church, symbolizing the divine light, the blessing of God, the light of the Star of Bethlehem, which showed the Magi the way to the Infant Jesus.
After the Holy Liturgy, in the morning of January 6, the rite of blessing the water is performed – in memory of the Baptism of Jesus. The verger of the Liturgy adds Holy Miro to the water and blesses it with prayer.
According to tradition, believers bring some of this water into their homes – as a healing remedy for the sick, since the water consecrated on this day is called Epiphany. It is believed that it has special beneficial properties. Epiphany water, according to Christian tradition, should be kept reverently and treated as a great shrine.
According to research, from the middle of the II century all the Christian churches celebrated the feast of the Epiphany together on January 6. However, in 336 the Roman Empire established December 25 as Christmas day which coincided with the day of the pagan holiday “Birth of the Invincible Sun.” From that time on, the birth of Christ among the people of Rome began to be understood as the “Birth of the Sun of Truth”. However, the Armenian Apostolic Church has preserved the original tradition and continues to celebrate Christmas and Epiphany on January 6 as a single feast of the Epiphany.