In order to soften the course of Lent a little bit, the ritual of the Michink was adopted in Armenian life. Միջինք-“michink,” Mid-Lent, which means that Great Lent has reached its half. So we celebrate it on the 24th day of Great Lent. Save the date in 2023 on Wednesday the 15th of March 2023.
The very day of the mid-point of Lent is very special, and in Armenian it is called, “michink,” meaning “middle.”It is the 24th day of Lent, and it occurs on the Wednesday of the fourth week.
It marks having successfully triumphed over the demands of restraint and continence called for by the long Lenten period of abstinence. It also, in a sense, is regarded as an occasion for celebration.
Though that is all true, it must be pointed out that it is not a religious feast of any significance. Thus, it is only to mark a popularly observed occasion. Morally, it inspires and encourages steadfastness, so that the faithful will continue on through the second half, to its end, on Easter Sunday.
Religious Services On Mid-Lent
There are no religious services specifically designated for mid-Lent since it is not a feast day. But Since it is on a Wednesday during Lent, there will be a service that occurs every Wednesday and Friday, called Arevakal, The arrival of the Sun- Sunrise.
The services for that Wednesday are the same as for other Wednesdays of lent, with the Sunrise Service and the ritual for confession and penance. What occurs then is primarily making the observance a little more ceremonial. Because Michink occurs on Wednesday, a work day, most men will be at work.
Also, because of the social and economic pressures Armenians experienced in the Diaspora, being different from what they were in the homeland in former times, it is to be expected that the popular practices in observing Michink will be different.
Today, Michink has become mostly an occasion enjoying the attention of women. It is principally the Armenian woman who makes an effort to recall the traditions of centuries past, thereby honoring their forbearers’ customs.
The gatherings that take place after the church services at Michink consist usually of tables set with the appropriate Lenten foods, and of cultural programs that suit the occasion.
Do they stop fasting on Michink?
The fast is not broken at Midlent but is kept with the same strictness. It is possible to bake and taste pasuts gatha-vegan or fasting bread and sweets for michink, respecting the national custom.
The Armenian kitchen is very rich with vegan recipes, and people have various options to create a rich menu and enjoy great food. You should also consider the various plates they have adopted from the countries they reside in the diaspora.
Traditions of Michink, Customs, And More
Traditions of Michink vary from one country to another. On that day, the housewives prepare bagharj- bread, which is also known by the names of Michink bagh, kloch, haregil, michink loch, michink plate, kutap, and other terms.
A small trinket or favour was necessarily placed in the middle: coin, bead, bean, etc. Like New Year’s bread, the middle was supposed to ensure the well-being of the hearth, family members, livestock, land, and the future success of the main economic activities.
Through the years, with women working, now Armenian women’s associations have organized such events in venues, with Armenian singers, for Michink, making the same michink menu for their guests, and it’s a party for everyone.
Foods For Michink
A variety of special foods were prepared in the homes for Michink – unleavened bread, called “Paghartch,” and a kind of sandwich called “Koutap.”
It was common to hide a metal coin in the paghartch bread. At mealtime, or when there was a gathering of friends, the paghartch bread was cut into portions and given out to all present. They would watch eagerly to see who would be the year’s lucky one – of course, the one who got the portion with the coin.
The Michink Koutap was prepared for the same purpose. The koutap was a kind of sandwich of filling between two pieces of bread. The dough was prepared with olive oil, about egg-size or sometimes flattened; enclosed was a filling of boiled green beans, broad beans, and other vegetables.
Most Famous Fasting- Vegan Armenian Dishes
|Bahki Keufta-Pasuts Gololak||Vegan Meatballs filled with Chickpeas (many varieties)|
|Bahki Litsk-Pasuts Tolma||Vegan rolls of vine leaves and fille Aubergines|
|Tahinov Hats||Tahini Bread|
|Shominov Hats- Beureg||Spinach bread|
|Vosbov Keufte||Red Lentils keufte|
|Itch||Fine Bulgur Salad with cooked and fresh vegetables|
|Tahinov Dre||Pasta with tahini and chickpeas|
|Topik for Lenten||A special appetizer with chickpeas, potatoes, and tahini|
The Year’s Lucky One
A colorful bead would be hidden in one of them, thus identifying the year’s lucky person.
The ritual of cutting the middle is interesting. in the evening, the elder of the house would put the unleavened bread on the back of the youngest member of the house and cut it. From it, all members of the household, as well as domestic animals and the land, were given an equal share.
Whoever found the trinket was considered lucky and it was a sign that assured his success during that year.
In ancient Jugha, it was believed that if the mark touched the knife while cutting the sedge, the family’s source of livelihood would be the land. the blade was identified with the plowshare. According to the now widespread perception, in such a case, success is attributed to all members of the family.
Gifts for Brides-to-be
It was once a custom for engaged young men, or their families, to give the bride-to-be a gift at michink.
In Lebanon, it is customary for Armenian families of engaged girls to organize gatherings and prepare specially made Keufte Vegan Meatballs with flour, bulgur, and chickpeas, in addition to pastries with tahini, and spinach. It is a celebration day with lots of gifts for the engaged couple.
Michink – a Day of Freedom for Girls and Brides
In villages of the homeland, it was customary to allow girls and new brides a day of freedom once a year, at michink.
On that occasion, free of the supervision of older women or of mothers-in-law, they would take the koutaps they had baked and go off to some distant spot with their very close friends and spend some time together in unfettered talk, singing, and dancing.
That special occasion of Michink was looked upon as an opportunity for them to talk intimately about family difficulties, or possibly shed copious tears concerning a disappointment in love.