Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Armenian women burying the "Red Apple" on 8 March

Celebrating International Women's Day in Armenia

Start Time: 07 March 2009 at 3pm
End Time: 07 April 2009 at 5pm
Starting point: Women's Resource Center, 34 Zarubyan Street, Yerevan, Armenia

The Women's Resource Center of Armenia with the cooperation of Utopiana, WOW and other NGOs, intends to mark the 8th of March, by performing a funeral rite and burying the “Red Apple” (to verify women’s virginity for marriage) one of the cultural traditions still popular in most of Armenia which the Center considers demeaning for women and a violation of their human rights and dignity.

Here is what Lara Aharonian of the Women's Resource Center has to say to clarify misconceptions associated with this initiative:

"To clarify certain things and to not mislead anyone:

By burying the red apple, we are not telling anyone to not be a virgin, because we believe that everyone has the right to choose their personal life and sexuality, as a basic human right.

On the contrary we want to express that every woman has the right to choose for herself and not be forced in the name of tradition.

The red apple is an attempt to our private life as women. And what we decide to do with our bodies concerns us and nobody else.

So if we want to stay virgin, it is our right and completely respected and if we don't that it is also our choice.

We want to bury the traditions that makes us feel less than a human and that makes us choose against our will.

So in order to not offend anyone, I wanted to add this comment."

OTL blog provides with the details of the staged 'funeral procession':

"The funeral rite will be stylized as Armenian. We will lead Mr. Apple, someone dressed in a 3D apple outfit, with chains, carrying flowers and a tombstone while a woman-priest (a teacher from the women’s center will dress up as one) will chant a modified reading of “funeral biblical scripts” replaced by verses about the end of the Apple. We will end the walk in a “lover’s park” in front of Congress Hotel where we will rip the Red Apple apart and bury the pieces in the ground. As a final celebration we will pour cement onto the spot and inscribe “Here lays the Red Apple” (“…..-2009). A party in the park will follow."

And here is the link to the intreview with RFE/RL Maxliberty programme about the 'funeral' (in Armenian).