Armenian Feasts

POON PAREGENTAN

This Sunday (February 14) is Poon Paregentan, the eve of Great Lent (Medz Bahk). “Poon” means “real” or “genuine,” and distinguishes this Paregentan from others in the liturgical calendar prior to other periods of fasting. “Paregentan” literally means “good living.”

Poon Paregentan ushers the faithful into the Lenten period of fasting, penance, and reconciliation.

Paregentan Sunday is the last day before the start of Lent. It is marked with good and abundant food, merriment, entertainment, and festivities of various kinds. Traditionally, all the food in the house that is forbidden during Lent would be consumed on Paregentan or given to non-Christian neighbors. During Lent all animal products, including dairy and eggs, are forbidden. The earliest Armenian tradition was even stricter and was referred to as Aghouhatz (salt and bread) because of its stringent restrictions.