Chinese Traditions In An Armenian Context

Author: Nelli Shishmanyan

Edition: Traditions

It has been 4 years that the family of Lee has lived in Armenia. The spouses teach Chinese language at The “Confucius” center and at the public school named after Chekhov in Yerevan. Living thousands of kilometers far away from their homeland, they are trying to preserve their national traditions in the Armenian environment both by preparing special meals and celebrating holidays. 

Chu Yan, the daughter of Lees, whom the family calls Tong-Tong (the Chinese call their child by a different name at home) goes to the Russian section of Chekhov school. She speaks Armenian, Russian, Chinese and English. As my children are course mates with Tong-Tong and there are close relations between our families, we had a unique chance  to be at their place and taste some traditional Chinese New Year meals.


The table with very appetizing meals for the New Year, which the Chinese celebrate on the 7th of February.
The Lee family.
Peng, the wife, is preparing traditional Chinese dumplings, which very much look like Russian pelmeni, but taste differently.
Peng always cuts dumplings with her hand, spreads them and then rolls them. This way the middle part stays thicker and while boiling, it doesn’t lose its look.
Mister Lee prepares fish in a traditional way. 'Fish' is equated with "abundance," due to homophony in Chinesе, therefore the Chinese people try to ‘transfer’ part of the good events of the previous year to the new one.
Tong-Tong always helps parents in their daily life, especially with making dumplings. But today she is doing all that also with the assistance of her friend - Katrin.
Kids are enjoying the festive dinner.
Tea culture is one of the most important things for a Chinese family, that’s why the Lees brought all the needed accessories from China themselves.

On the first day of the lunisolar calendar, the Chinese celebrate the lantern festival. This is a family holiday and special rice balls are prepared with a sweet pulp. Also the red lanterns are released into the air, making a wish beforehand. Usually after releasing the lanterns into the air, the family gathers at home for tasting the special meal. Unfortunately the Chinese living in Armenia don’t have opportunity to buy the necessary raw products for it. 


This is one of the most favorite holidays of children. Many different events are organized in China for them on this day.


This August, the Lee family will leave for Peking, China as their working contract will be over.


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