Armenia is the first Christian country in the world, having declared itself a Christian country in 301 AD. Its national church was directly founded by the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus and therefore considered the Apostolic Church.
The Armenian traditional greeting on Easter is “Krisdos haryal i merelots” (Christ is risen from the dead), to which you reply “Orhnyal e harutyun’ Krisdosi” (Blessed is the resurrection of Christ).
According to Article 8 of the Rules of the Armenian Apostolic Church:
“Easter or the Resurrection of Christ should be celebrated after Lent. The Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, Easter may fall between March 22 and April 25.”
In the Armenian church, Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. During this time it is forbidden to eat meat, poultry, eggs, cheese and milk. Basically, a 40 day vegan diet. Those following the strictest rules abstain even from wine (and all alcoholic beverages), oils (even olive oil), olives and honey, restricting their diet to literally only bread salt and water. In most places and times in Armenia, the fast was lifted or moderated on Saturdays and Sundays.
During the Divine Liturgy celebrated on Easter Eve (also called the Candle Mass) on Saturday when the good news of Christ’s Resurrection is given, the seven-week-long Lent is over. Every one lights a candle, tastes the egg they have taken along and bids farewell to Lent.
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