Festival of Mihr

Mihr, Festival of

February
The Church of Armenia, proud of its ancient lineage and determined to retain its national character, has made it a point to keep a number of pagan ceremonies alive by investing them with Christian significance. This seems to be the case with the Festival of Mihr, the ancient god of fire. This pagan spring festival was originally observed by lighting fires in Mihr's honor in the marketplace, and by lighting a lantern that burned throughout the year in the temple. When Christianity was introduced in Armenia early in the third century, fires were lit on this day in the church courtyards, and people danced around them or jumped through the flames.
The modern-day Armenian celebration of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple or Candlemas retains many elements of the pagan Festival of Mihr.
SOURCES:
BkFest-1937, p. 23
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