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Life of Armenians seen through lens

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Festivals of the city's tiny and reclusive Armenian community, who celebrate Christmas on January 6, have now been captured on camera.

Travel writer and photographer Rangan Datta has come up with a photo exhibition comprising 18 images shot over a period of five years.

The photographs reveal the little-known life and customs of Armenians in the city whose population has dwindled down to around 150 now.

Armenians follow the Orthodox calendar, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ as January 6 and not December 25.

Accordingly, they celebrate Christmas in the New year each time at Kolkata's Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth.

The exhibition also covers other festivals like Pilgrimage to Chinsurah, when members of the community go on an annual pilgrimage to St John, the Baptist, Armenian Church in the erstwhile Dutch settlement of Chinsurah.

Celebrated every year on the Sunday after the Armenian Christmas, the pilgrims carry the golden hand of St John who is said to have baptised Jesus Christ in the waters of the Jordan river.

The golden hand contains the relic, a piece of bone from the right hand of St John.

Held on the Sunday closest to August 15, the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony is another important festivals of the Armenian calender.

Moments from occasions of mourning like the Armenian Good Friday and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day also find place in the exhibit which depicts how most of their community activities are centred around their churches - three in Kolkata and one in Chinsurah (Hooghly district).

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First Published: Fri, December 26 2014. 13:30 IST