Tradition gone wild – the ‘red apple’

Mock burial of the “Red apple” – symbol of women’s virginity took place in Armenia’s capital Yerevan on March 8th – the International Women’s Day.

In an event apparently initiated by the Women’s Resource Center and Utopiana Association, about 30 women and a few male supporters marched through Yerevan and burried the “red apple”. The procession was stopped by the police but was allowed to continue after some negotiations. The participants of the march disseminated posters to onlookers that read “Don’t give up and think you’re powerless”, “Women need equal rights, opportunities and a life free of violence, not flowers on March 8th”.

Some real red apples symbolizing the tradition were buried in the backyard of the Women’s Resource Center at the end of the march.

The whole concept of the ‘red apple’ comes from the tradition to show the bedsheets stained by blood left by a bride on her wedding night, to the relatives of the groom to demonstrate the fact that the bride was a virgin. If relatives on the groom’s side are satisfied with their observations of the bloody badsheets (gross!), they send a bowl of red apples to the bride’s parents’ house.

I have known cases when the bride turned back to her parents for missing the virginity marks. Meanwhile, men are expected to have some sexual experience before they get married. It is almost the responsability of the groom’s friends to make sure he spends some time with a prostitute before the marriage.

Hence, the traditon of the ‘red apple’ is yet another sign of double-standards excercised in the Armenian society. Moreover, even vague understanding of human biology, makes me feel, that this tradition has over time also become a health hazard to many Armenian girls and boys.

Admittedly, the ‘red apple’ made perfect sence in the old days when the tradition was instituted. We all know, that in old Armenia young people would get married when they were just kids, at the age of 13-15 years. Hence, keeping virginity at least to that age made perfect sence and was even necessary.

Today, as the modern society and the need to get education have shifted the age for marraige by at least 10 years, and when young people get married at 23-25 at most cases, often even later, the requirement for young girls to remain virgins has become dangerous for their health.

The problem is, that the modern reality requires girls to get education, work, make a carrer and while the society keeps looking down on premarital sax, the hormones, the genetic structure of the young body demand sex, and failure to fulfil this very human need has to inevitably result in health hazards.

I can further speculate, that the fact Armenian girls are often too hairy is a direct consequence of the inability for the young body to get necessary hormones generated during sex. So the girl’s body compensates it by producing more testesterone, which results in more hair… mmm, this is just a speculation, ok?

Now, as to the boys. At the age of 13-14 they start feeling the need for sex (for one thing, I did feel that need even earlier). And what are the options? The girls at their age are usually unavailable, because they have to remain virgins to meet the ‘red apple’ requirement, remember? So what’s the easy thing to do – go to the whores, of course! And that’s when the young, inexperienced kids, unaware of basic health and safety issues meet prostitutes (they are called sex-workers these days) full of germs and bugs, of which ‘tripper’ and ‘hepatytes’ are just the lesser of evils, and ‘syphilis’ reigns, and HIV/AIDs is often a possibility.

Ten years later these boys become man enough to marry the girls who were supposed to have stayed virgins. And we have a generation – conteminated with veneral deseases and unsatisfied sexual needs.

Considering all of this, all I can do is ask – do we really need this? What is the point of this virginity rite, after all? I’m not against the red apple tradition, nor am I against the symbolic white dress of the bride. Use it as a symbol as much as you like, but this virginity thing is just outrageous.

I must confess, that this post was inspired by Onnik Krikoryan’s excellent article about the event with accompanying photos, as well as the discussion that has taken shape there. I have also included a podcast of RFE/RL’s MaxLiberty program, which cover’s the ‘red apple burrial’ and has interviews with the participants of the event and the bloggers, namely Pigh, who came to make fun of it. Pigh has also posted his own account of the events, which are quite funny, I have to admit!
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78 thoughts on “Tradition gone wild – the ‘red apple’

  1. Artur,

    You again showed why you’re the real DITORD – the objective eye.

    Well done.

    P.S. I loved the hairiness explanation)))
    Girls be proud of your moustache, it shows you’re a virgin)))

  2. Ditord! May be you will start to advocate prostitution and immorality????? Who is going to respect our traditions?

      1. 51% divorce rate. Generation of kids who grow up without fathers. 15 year old kids having sex. Are those included in the “lot we can learn from the Americans”.

          1. Lets go even younger, shall we?
            Dawn 13

            – Why did you do that?
            – Because I wanted to

            – How many guys have you been with?
            – 15.

          2. Vartan,

            German philosopher Nitsche has put up a concept, according to which – primitive cultures, when they meet with a superior culture, tend to take only the negative aspects of it at first. E.g. the American Indians only learned to drink alcohol and kill each other with more deadly weapons, rather than embracing highly developed European values, philosophy, technology and making their lives better.

            Unlike American Indians, Armenians are NOT a primitive nation and Armenia has taken a great deal of positive things from the US/European cultures already. Some examples:
            1) Market economy which accounts for better distribution of goods;
            2) Technological improvements – computers, internet;
            3) Proper cars – not Yeraz only which hardly could drive 2 miles without braking down 10 times.

            Your resistance to see these positives and only concentrate on negatives make me wonder…

          3. For some reason I can’t reply to the March 13, 2009 at 9:12 post.

            Nitsche also said that the primitive culture always gets destroyed by the superior one. I’d like to point out that Native Americans still haven’t recovered from the alcoholism.

            You say that Armenians are not a primitive nation, with which I agree, but at the same time you’re saying that we’re “hetamnats” for having higher morals than the Americans.

            13 year olds having sex is a little extreme and in no way describes most of the Americans, but it’s not to far from the reality.

            (to be continued)

          4. Most of American girls loose their virginity in high school. Prom night(Vipusknoy) is probably the day when most of them bury their red apples. The society actively promotes this by making thousands of movies about the subject.

            After the middle class girl looses her virginity she goes to college where she’s encouraged to get drunk, experiment with drugs, have multiple sex partners, experiment with lesbianism etc.

            It is during college that she goes to “Spring Break” where above mentioned examples are multiplied by 10.

            In later years of her college she finds a boyfriend and they get married. The first five years of the marriage are fine, but soon she gets bored, cheats on the husband and they get divorced within 10 years of the marriage.

            The marriage and the divorce produce at least 2 traumatized kids. Who have to witness their parents constantly fighting.

            The lower class girls hardly go to college, because they already have at least 1 child by the time they turn 18.

    1. Observer,

      with all due respect, I have to say that you got to give us a break. You forgot to mention for instance whether the primitive American Indians learned the drinking before or after they were butchered by the US Army who had the moral values of the those developed Europeans you mentioned. Many American Indians would claim today that their lives were just perfect before a white man on a horse cam to their land and started chopping off their heads.

      Your opening line is really not well thought. Maybe Nitsche does good to your point but when you speak of values in general mentioning the German philosophers to support it isn’t such a nice thing is it? Because, as you well know, another German “philosopher” not too long after reading this Nitsche guy claimed that Jews should be exterminated and next thing we know is that 4-6 million Jews just vanished. Is this among the highly developed European values that you speak off or you are drawing a line? If you do then you should make that line a bit more clear before making such statements. I cannot help but recall Teryan’s “Mi xarneq mez zer vajri archi cexerin…”.

      In general, you have a point but the words you chose to express it just kill the point for me. There is nothing developed about European values, it is the natural direction that any bunch of nations will eventually move after spending centuries butchering
      each other and others as well, for that matter. Yes, we should follow the west in many areas but not because they are highly developed and we are somehow primitive but because that is the only way we can keep our existence in the 21st century. It is an adaptation to a new environment with new challenges not a better environment. I’ll stop here but in general I don’t think we should be thinking of us as primitive or others as highly developed. There were smart people who solved many difficult problems in the west and ended many deep rooted stupid conflicts and found a way of doing business that works for all. If we don’t catch up with them, soon no one will be left in Armenia. It is really a survival issue.

  3. Like the Americans? You mean the Republicans or the Bible-bashers and “moral majority?”

    Tigran, if so, I think you’re already there.

    Meanwhile, however Armenia ends up, what matters most is individual freedom.

    How those freedoms are practiced is a matter of education and the maturity of society.

    1. Onnik,

      What specifically (concrete, evidence-based, factual) is wrong with
      (1) the Republicans,
      (b) the “Bible-bashers,” and
      (c) the “moral majority?”

      Further, is there anything wrong with
      (a) the liberals,
      (b) the secularists, and
      (c) the “immoral-minority?”

      David

      1. Onnik,

        That was a vague and ambiguous response.

        Since you read and follow American politics, who do you think likes to control other people’s lives more:
        1) the liberals?,
        2) the conservatives?,
        3) the libertarians?

        Since you talked about “context,” here are some examples: Who passes “no smoking” laws in the streets and buildings? Who advocates “no peanuts in schools?” Who imposes speech codes in the college campuses? Who ferociously hates the dissenters among its ranks? Who fights “God” in the public square? Who steals more of your hard earned dollars? Who tells companies how to run their business? Who tells the banks to give loans to blacks and Hispanics even if they have low income or low credit? Who thinks the murderers should not be put to death? Who thinks that if you are black you should get extra points when applying to a university? Who stops poor children from getting vouchers so they can go to private schools? Who thinks that redefining marriage (between one man and one woman) into one man and one man (or one woman and one woman), heck (three men) is good for the society? Who wants to stop the restaurants from allowing customers to choose between a smoking and a non-smoking section? Who wants to prohibit saying “God bless you” at a school graduation? Who thinks all cultures are morally equivalent?

        Here is a clue: the liberals, i.e. the socialists, who have highjacked the Democrat Party.

        P.S. For the non-American audience, “liberal” and “conservative” have different meanings in America compared to Europe, Russia and/or Armenia.
        P.P.S. I don’t believe there is a coherent libertarian political-economic philosophy, yet alone a political party fashioned after the Libertarian Party of America.

  4. Great post, Observer, thank you. One comment, though: I highly contest your observation that for young people to remain virgins is dangerous to their health.

    I support the symbolic burial of the red apple and march and I support your overall perspective as presented here, but it seems to me your knowledge of health concerns (as you present them here) is ill-informed: “I can further speculate, that the fact Armenian girls are often too hairy is a direct consequence of the inability for the young body to get necessary hormones generated during sex.” All I can say to this comment is, you’re right it is YOUR speculation (and a funny one at that!) and not at all a biological explanation (which often fall short of the mark, anyway).

    I agree with Onnik: what matters most is individual freedom. Education and the maturity of a society are key… and from what I’ve read about this event and people’s strong reactions against it (both in English and in Armenian), it only tells me that Armenia has a long way to go.

    1. Like I said – just a speculation :) I don’t claim to have enough knowledge of human biology to make statements like that.

  5. I wonder how many protester-guys went to the protest to get laid. And how many “got lucky?”

    :-)

    David

      1. Ani W.

        You know male nature well. (wink)

        Here are some follow-up questions:

        1) How many of the women at the protest were (actually) virgins?
        2) How many of those women (secretly) wish they were virgins?
        3) How many of the protesters (male or female) went there to lose their virginity?
        4) Why aren’t the red apple growers marching? Sounds like an economic sabotage to me by green apple growers!

        :-)

        1. David-jan,

          Yes, I do know male nature well, because I’m married to one and (bonus!) also had a father; generally women understand men a whole lot better than the other direction, since men tend toward obliviousness while holding the power.

          As to your follow-up questions, I have no idea since I wasn’t there and don’t know the organizers. It was International Women’s Day, and these were women expressing their own views. Sorry if it’s so hard to take, fellas. Next time, ladies, remember to wear those burkhas.

          But David, I think you have cleared up a great mystery for us–Dick Cheney has become a blogger!

  6. I should say that this is unmoral and a big problem but also should admit that not only Armenia has this tradition. Dozens of women in muslin countries suffer from sort of unnatural traditions. I know that in Morocco case is even worst. A girl can do a surgery for 50 Euros even twice and become a virgin. Is this what our society wants. Or we do value a honesty in person

  7. Say you’re a 14-year-old girl in an Armenian village. The boys you know are the boys from the village that you’ve met in your classroom and grown-up with. You like a few of them, and you dream of building a family, having kids that you take care of and a family that your husband is devoted to.

    Now, say you see this burial of the apple demonstration. What would you think?

    All of a sudden, sexual relations would stop being a sign of devotion and would turn into a recreational sport. Fucking would be for pleasure, completely divorced from economic necessity.

    This is the thing: In the real world, people who fuck for pleasure make at least several tens of thousands of dollars to support that hobby, and those who don’t suffer the consequences. You make money, most Armenian girls–don’t. You can fuck Jack, and Jill, and all of Santa’s reindeer because you can afford it. Armenian girls in Armenia CAN’T. Who are you to tell them how to live?

    You crusaders of Armenian women’s rights who bury symbols of virginity like a dead body: give every girl in Armenia who wants to have a baby $200,000 to realize that dream–or else shut the fuck up.

    You who shop at Crate & Barrel one day and the next day tell girls who make 1/100ths of what you make, girls who live in a completely different world than you–one that for all of your “caring for women’s lives” you haven’t even thought about–what to think.

    I think the advice should be going in the other direction, now that your economy is tanking and your fucking is getting more expensive. Fifty years, and the movement that calls itself the “women’s movement” hasn’t “cared” enough about women to stop pharmaceutical companies from feeding women cow hormones for birth control when a once-a-year brass ring would do the job.

    Keep sucking on cow hormones, idiots.

    1. Armen,

      I get a very strong feeling that this event was not televised on the Armenian networks, and since none of the peseant lasses you are so concerned about has a computer, your fears are unjustified. Anyway, you’ve misinterpreted the event.

      I can tell you that what women really like most in life is a bunch of guys sitting around and deciding what they should and should not think, do, or believe. That IS a tradition, sadly.

      1. Ani,

        I don’t think I misunderstood anything. You might think that my response to the gravediggers was disproportionate to what they did, but it really annoys me when people self-righteously take symbols from a people’s living heritage and bury it in the ground, justifying it by citing a constitution based on liberal humanism that was already demonstrated as self-contradictory in 1740–in other words, 269 years ago.

        I was pointing out that the grave-diggers’ ideas, traceable in their mature (almost identical to today’s) form to the upper class of early 19th c. England–you know, the same people who were at the same time literally and figuratively raping the world and turning them into opium addicts–, can’t be separated from their base, or context, and taken for absolute truth that should be spread to every part of the world.

        It is nothing but vanity to think one’s values have universal legitimacy. I could go on about all the ways the grave-diggers were and are wrong, but I’ll just point out that what was particularly irritating, even insulting, was the burial of the apple. When you take a living thing and bury it in the ground, it dies. To take a symbol like the red apple with its rich tradition in poetry, religion, and culture in general and bury it is very vulgar. It is also hostile, obviously, because it symbolizes killing.

        But hostility, vulgarity, lack of respect for other people’s traditions, the conviction that their way is the only way are part and parcel to exactly the kind of imperialistic narcissism that throws up the George Bushes of the world at the same time that it throws up the ideology that they use to justify their plundering, usually with comprador “progressives” leading the charge.

    2. Armen,

      Don’t forget that capitalism has brought more freedom to women than all the feminists and the femi-Nazis (dead or alive) combined.

      Further, since the topic is “male hypocrisy,” let me mention something that drives the feminists into rage. When will the feminists around the world march and thank President George W. Bush for liberating approximately 25,000,000 Muslim women from Taliban’s slavery and Saddam Hussein’s rape rooms. But its easy to be a feminist when you live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan or Kentron, Yerevan.

      Ahhh~~~

      1. David, unless you’re being sarcastic, you and I don’t agree at all: not on this topic, nor, I suspect, on most other topics. George Bush was an ignorant, mean-spirited, and incompetent jack-ass of a president and is, rightly, the most hated man on the planet. If he liberated anybody, it was bureaucrat psychopaths on a manic gambler’s out-of-control run with the people’s money, everybody else he liberated from a stable society and threw into deadly chaos. He was a scum-bag of a human being, and if you’re a fan of his, you’re a fucking moron, buddy.

        Also, not all feminists are the same. Some of them are actually quite intelligent and wise and worth listening to.

        1. “on a manic gambler’s out-of-control run with the people’s money”

          lol, totally unlike what is being done now by the one who history will show to be the absolute worst American President ever of all time past and future….

  8. While Armenians like to always proudly state that we are the first Christian country most of our behaviour coincides with Muslims…

  9. Of course BSW,you are right
    All we need is sex,box and jazz.
    A bit mariuhana daily(of course for treatment).
    Lesbians and gays everywhere.
    Unfortunately for us we are living in mongolo-tatar times, so far we need to accept reality

  10. There is no positive correlation between virginity and being moral – who dares to prove that there is? Most uneducated and irrational Armenian men wrongly believe that if the candidate is virgin, therefore she is moral:)) What a stupid belief!!

    Listen guys, what about a girl who has done lots lots of anal and oral sex but is virgin? An Armenian guy described above will marry this girl considering her a virgin, therefore moral.. On the the other hand, many Armenian girls, knowing this irrationality of men, will “try” to remain virgin, whatever they do, and then will successfully lie these guys pretending they do not even know how to kiss… Does this lie work successfully on most of our irrational guys? Yes it does… Who benefits? NO ONE – it’s all lie…

    It is really unhealthy for both sexes to not to have sex at latest after 17-18.. I have seen many virgins after their 28-30s – they all had some physical and more importantly, psychological problems..

    Red apple, as applied to virginity testing, is an obstacle to the health of our nation, and must be eliminated!!! Thanks to all brave girls and boys that organized and participated in the burial. I wish I was in Armenia and participate. Shame the police for intolerant behavior!

    A.Z

    1. For anal sex I suggest “green apples.” For oral sex – “yellow apples” come to mind. Heck, let’s make it a rainbow…

  11. Hey, how about the growth industry of ‘virginity recovery’ surgeries in the country. Do you want all these surgeons to go bankrupt?

  12. This topic is sickening and tiring…More important issues should be solved in Armenia!

  13. Armen Filadelfiatzi, bravo ;) They don’t know that most of the women who use these anti pregnancy pills and do abortions have far more problems than those who don’t want sex just for pleasure! I have seen my friends suffering from all kind of consequences, headache,nausea, constant appointments with doctors, hormonal disbalance, complications of having babies, even loosing the opportunity to become mothers and many many other problems…then there are STD and HIV,etc…

  14. Instead of buring red apple, which i think is a very ugly way of expression, let them organise lessons of sexual education which i doubt anybody would be against…

  15. Zepyur,

    The Armenian government plan to introduce sex education into the school curriculum because it’s necessary. Meanwhile, the demonstration was about women’s rights, including the fact that women are subject to violence at the hands of men.

    The NGO does more in other areas, but this march was held on International Women’s Day and involved handing out leaflets referring to women’s rights and publicizing other events. A small group of males plus one woman decided to infiltrate, mock and disrupt the event.

    Tigran,

    You know your opposition to the rally has nothing to do with whether they are in receipt of grants. It has everything to do with your dislike of anything you consider “anti-Armenian” or “European” regardless of whether it’s necessary or the fact that those taking part in such actions are, um…

    Armenians.

    Meanwhile, as that situation undoubtedly changes, the nationalists obviously panic. The lack of any valid argument against women’s rights in Armenia (apart from referring to “tradition,” purity for women but not for men, and the Bible (in the comments on my post) says a lot.

    http://frontlineclub.com/blogs/onnikkrikorian/2009/03/burying-the-red-apple.html

  16. Incidentally, on Tigran’s point about “grant suckers,” it’s worth pointing out that yes, problems do exist on the matter of funding many groups in civil society.

    However, Tigran and his posse are noticeably silent on government-organized NGOs mainly because it is not the money changing hands, it is the objectives.

    So, while he will disrupt small rallies in defence of women even if they are fellow citizens, he says nothing about some of the most obvious examples of wasted money spent to actually resist change.

    Miasin and Mitq spring to mind instantly.

    Basically, this is not a question of whether the marchers believed in what they were doing. In fact, the women’s march participants do, just as Mitq do (although Miasin is just a joke).

    It’s about democratic and tolerant forces against nationalist and intolerant ones. It’s about promoting change or fighting against it. Really, it’s as simple as that.

    1. Speaking of grant. According to the Armenian State Budget Law for 2009, the President’s office has the several grant lines, some of which are for:
      1. 100 million AMD ($ 269,000 US) for anti-smoking grants
      2. 100 million AMD ($ 269,000 US)for discretionary grants to NGOs
      3. 100 million AMD (($ 269,000 US)for various cultural unions and NGOs
      4. 104 million AMD for think tanks and NGOs implementing policy research

      This is from the first glance. I have not time to dig into it and go further with examples, perhaps I’ll come up with a more in-depth post. What I mean to say is – when you look at these numbers, you understand, that the president of Armenia is the largest grant-providing organization in Armenia. However, unlike most other grant-giving organizations, there is absolute lack of transparency and nobody knows how all this tax money is spent.
      Miasin and Mitq spring to mind instantly. :)))

  17. Onnik
    You got new phobia-nationalists:)
    You have 10 times told that we(fascists:)went there just to mock the stupid idea of burying apple and false-priest existence during ceremony.
    I am not British citizen to be tolerant and neutral to everything.
    For Mitq action,at least two activists were released from prison. Be sure,that Mitq is funded not from government resourses. More I can tell you by telephone.
    For Miasin stupid action you can read my new post in my blog(if your armenian allows to do this)
    Do not disturb my religious feeling,it is not tolerant from your side:)
    Anyway thank you for having nice discussion:)

  18. As I mentioned to Armen above, I think most of you have misinterpreted both the custom of the Red Apple and its burial. What does the Red Apple actually symbolize? If you answered “virginity,” no, that’s wrong. What it actually symbolizes is “Proof of Virginity,” of literally “airing one’s dirty laundry in public,” of a public warranty of a girl’s virginity. Here’s why that’s so bad.

    Let’s say for argument’s sake that Armen wants to marry Ani. That’s an equal statement; you can also say that Ani wants to marry Armen. But now change that statement to: Armen wants to marry a Virgin. Suddenly, instead of a person, Armen has gone shopping for a commodity. Instead of valuing Ani as an individual, he is looking for an item. And a number of Items are available to him. Now let’s say that Ani, for whatever reason (maybe an uncle sexually molested her) is not a Virgin. She may be the perfect, witty match in all other ways for Armen, but since he wants a Virgin Ani will not do. So instead he opts for the witless dolt Gayane. Armen and Gayane get married, she is definitely a Virgin, white sheets can be hung up for everyone’s entertainment. Does happiness follow?

    Because Armen always viewed Gayane as a commodity (virgin), and that commodity was time-limited, what is Gayane to Armen now? Surely not an equal partner in this marriage! So Gayane becomes some other commodity to Armen–with luck a mother, or perhaps housekeeper, laundress, cook, and very likely, because Armen is unhappy and frustrated, Gayane becomes also a Punching Bag. Would it not have been better for everyone if, instead of shopping for a Virgin, Armen and Ani, a perfect match but for Ani’s non-virginity, had gotten married? And if not for a custom like the Red Apple, who would have known? And why is it the community’s business whether or not Ani is a Virgin anyway? To see dirty linen hanging imaginatively invites the community into the bedroom of Armen and Ani; do you really want them there? And isn’t that what Paris Hilton’s sex tape can satisfy for those who need such entertainment?

    So that, guys, is why you’ve misinterpreted this symbol: it really has nothing to do as to whether the ladies want to stay virgins or not, and what the organizers said, after all, was this: “don’t give up and think you’re powerless,” women need equal rights opportunities and a life free of violence, not flowers on March 8th.” Makes sense now, I hope?

    And an interesting thing happened on the march: Tigran was himself objectified, and instead of being Tigran, he was called a Fascist. And Tigran didn’t like this objectification a even a tiny bit…

    1. Great Ani jan:)) You single-handedly defeated many ideas written here and illustrated many subtle points that needed illustration.

      Yes, Ani and Armen failed – tens of thousands fail in Armenia in the same way – that is why this is also a matter of public health!

      Many respects to you for your bright mind! The fact that such brightness exists (though rare!) makes me hope for the best, i.e. slow change…

      P.S.

      Who said that females are irrational and males are rational? Hy? If you think this is true, read Ani’s post (as an example of rational thinking) and many guys’ posts (let you assess them:))))

    2. Why does it follow from the fact that Armen wants to marry a virgin that Armen is looking for a commodity? (I mean logically speaking. It seems like you are not expressing an opinion.) To me anyone who is looking someone to marry is looking for a commodity. Perhaps I never looked for someone to marry that is why I think that way. But I am married we just met because our lives converged and then everything worked out. Isn’t this how it usually happens?

      It is absurd that in the 21st century people are talking about these things this way. For me the issue isn’t that women haven’t been protesting. The issue is really with man who cannot have a non-virgin wife because the family would figure it out and then god knows what will happen. From my own experience with Armenian guys, I really don’t think deep down in their hearts they somehow think it has to do with purity of anything (these are by the way dogmas that culture teaches not that guys develop it by themselves). They are more afraid of what the society will think of them. However you look at it, it makes no sense for anyone who lives in the 21st century. At any rate, I think if anyone wants to do anything then a lot of it should be aimed at men.

      1. Observer and all, I’m changing a certain word to Vegan so the comment doesn’t need moderation and sit around for hours ;)

        Grigor, of course how you describe your marriage is how it should work. But after writing my little story yesterday, a friend wrote to me and told me about one of his friends in Yerevan who, when discussing this issue, told him that if he got married and found out his wife wasn’t a Vegan, he would divorce her. So for this guy, her status as Vegan was more important than all her other qualities, those that attracted him to her enough to want to marry her. That makes her into a commodity. Guys, this is not a road to happiness!

        By the way, the Vegan status can be compromised in any number of ways, like horseback riding, gymnastics, and doctor examinations. Here’s a link if you want more info: http://tinyurl.com/2agu82

        1. Ani, I think you are expressing an opinion here, and I sort of disagree with it. For instance, I think me and my wife would never have any chance of being happy if say she was a conservative. This doesn’t turn her into a commodity, it is just that knowing myself I could never create a kind of atmosphere where a conservative woman would feel happy. It doesn’t matter if we click in other areas, every time the issue of conservatism comes up I will make her feel bad and I will make myself feel bad. This is not something you want in your marriage. The same is with virginity. A lot of guys are afraid to marry non-virgin because then they could never make their wives happy nor they can make themselves happy, it will always be an issue for them. Just like I cannot get over the conservatism issue they cannot get over the virginity issue. People have this sorts of things and my case isn’t so bad when compared with the other only because people usually don’t get harmed because of my conservatism issue while virginity thing is harmful and creates a society where women are not free. This is the only valid reason I can think of that one needs to address the virginity issue and men should be the target, they have to make peace with non virginity and etc. This brings us to the apple thing. I think this people would be much better of to eat those apples than bury them and instead campaign for sexual education.

          Actually, you could make slight adjustments elsewhere and that would attack the issue as well. How about trying to create a sense among guys that women like when men cook or this sorts of things. You don’t have to go for the heart you can just try to change the mentality of men and create a sense in them that those things that are traditionally considered as woman’s job, when done by men make them more sexy and desirable in woman’s eyes.

          1. Grigor, I don’t think we disagree, what you are talking about is whether you and your wife are compatible, and of course to be happy you need that. But when a guy says, “I want to marry a v-irgin,” he is not caring about who he is marrying, but what he is marrying. And he’s not looking at the woman as an equal partner, someone he can have a conversation with, or make joint decisions with. And marriage is difficult enough without making these considerations. Sort of getting off-topic here, I think…

    3. I don’t think it is off topic. I am just saying that people tend to think of these things from woman’s point of view. Just like you say that when someone wants to marry a virgin then that person doesn’t consider women as their equal is 100% female account of the issue. I understand that it feels horrible from female point of view but if anyone cares about the issue then they should look where the problem is and the problem is elsewhere.

      It is the world of Armenian men that makes the matter the way it is. When an Armenian guy wants to marry a virgin he does so because he is afraid that if his wife isn’t virgin then *he*, not the wife, will be perceived as weak by the society and he will never be able to find his place in the society. He doesn’t think of non virgins as not pure or anything but rather that the fact that he is marrying someone who was already been *possessed* by someone else shows a sign of weakness. It is ironic, but no Armenian guy I have ever known would ever say a single bad word about a non virgin girl but they would never marry a non virgin. So the issue isn’t that men treat women as unequal but that the society of men is structured in a way that anything of the sort will diminish them as men. It is tough to be an Armenian guy. There are whole bunch of rules that you have to follow and etc. In a higher level, you can even see these rules being used in politics and etc. I don’t know, for me the issue is with the way men deal with one another ever since they grow up. Trying to find weaknesses in each other all the time and trying to “verx vercnel” all the time, it is really disgusting.

      1. Fragile Armenian male ego can’t deal with strong, knowledgeable woman. I’m sure you’re right about that, Grigor! But I don’t agree that only the women’s side gets heard–there’s plenty of the men’s side right here on this page!

        1. LOL. The more fragile the ego, he more the need for unreasonable demands.

          Off topic, it’s funny sometimes when I watch daytime TV and in the court shows there will be guys who have done something bad because they were ‘disrespected’. Why would anyone respect a hoodlum like them is a mystery that’s only known to the said hoodlums.

      2. Grigor, what Ani says, is not a female account of the issue – I agree with her 100%. This is also male account! More correctly, this is not female or male account, just rational reasoning which does not differentiate between sexes.

      3. The guys that are afraid of what you describe, I would call very weak guys.. They change their potential happiness to the security in the society.. This seems to me very unreasonable.. result of fear and weakness.

      4. Grigor, I like your point on the problem between man and man, not man and a woman. This is true, unfortunately. Again, this is totally not a Christian.

        Armenian men try to blame each other of being weaker, worse then they are. Christ would not only say to these guys “do not blame/judge”, but also would ask if he is saint? Instead of improving their lives, they grown bellies and unhealthy life styles, they perceive themselves kind of superior and try to find defect in each other… But if the guys is really strong, he would ignore all this and merry the one he really loves. I will not think twice to merry the one I love, irrespective of what she did in the past..

  19. If you bury a red apple now, then a whole tree full of many-many red apples will grow in its place next year. Action->Reaction. Then we’ll be faced with not “double standards” but a whole set of multi-standards in social inhibitions and codes, a post-modern pancake, where double-standards IS the stanrdad.

    Ultimately, I see both Liberalists and Conservatives alike equally POLITICISING SEX to further their political views and, importantly, interests!

    Womens’ rights? Absolutely!!! But lest one is ignorant of overwhelming statistical and research-based evidence, gender inequalities (of which violence against women, domestic violence, patriarchy and wage-slavery, are but few of the examples) have historically been caused precisely by the systems that generates and dwells on economical contradictions between classes, genders, nations etc etc. And there is a name for that system. Hence, just as I’m sceptical of conservative bible-basher reactionary attitudes to such events, I must equally remain sceptical of an event by an NGO’s financed by the comprador bourgeoisie furthering a particular set of values (in the context of a system of economical contradictions) suited for the lumpenproletariat mass-producing mass-consumming societies. “To stay backward” or “to integrate with Global Imperialist matrix” should not be the only choices available to Armenians.

  20. To Armen

    1. Do you eat apples? So every time you eat them you kill them, right? Aren’t you self-contradictory? …Apple symbolized something… and it was that something that was buried.

    2. Animals are still killed by Armenian churches.. I think you could care about this more, as they feel pain and fear when killed, whereas it is not proven that apple suffers when “killed”.

    3. Please do not connect sex with economy – just remember that everyone’s body belongs to that one, and one CAN do whatever and WHENEVER he/she wants to do with it!! Don’t you agree? How sex can be regulated, beyond prohibition of child sex and forced sex? How sex by adults can be regulated by law or by tradition or because of economic necessity…? It’s a matter of private life.

    4. You are suspicious towards universal values. In this case, you should also be suspicious about the absolute truth of red apple, otherwise you will contradict yourself. If red apple tradition (in other words, pre-marital female virginity) is not absolute truth, why some women and men who do not like it should not be allowed/tolerated when burring red apple? Why don’t you see opponents and proponents of the tradition on an equal level each expressing their own views on it?

    To Zepyur

    What is sickening, is that males decide how females should live, call it a tradition, create social sanctions for breaches and here were are – social “criminal law” for women only imposed by men… I am sad that there are still women who do not oppose this one-sided rule..

    To ALL ARMENIANS

    1. How can you, guys, impose your desired rules on women? Where do you get this power? Why a girl should restrict her sexual desire just because some guys want her to remain virgin? Can someone rationally explain this without referring to “tradition”, as it is irrational and one-sided?

    2. Please respect our Constitution, and then only think about respecting or not traditions – Constitution comes FIRST!!! Constitution is what makes Armenia a state. Everything else comes or does not come later! And the Constitution prescribes, as a matter of “black letter law”, that everyone has a private life! Human body is, without single question, within the sphere of private life. Therefore, the stupidity of red apple is unconstitutional! Take your hands off from everyone’s body! That’s too private and you do not have access!

    We should clean all the “dirt” that came to Armenian culture during 1000 year of foreign domination by RESPECTING our Constitution. You can live in a way you think fit, but please do not spit on the Constitution! If you do, however, then remember that you spit on the wind…

  21. I noticed a comparison above between Christians and Muslims…I don’t think the comment was relevant, but this brought me to the thought that Muslims are procreating and prospering due to certain traditions and Christians will soon be wiped out from this earth, especially when certain churches encourage homosexual marriages. Then you can say, yes it is their business, they can do whatever they want with their bodies ;) it’s their right!

    1. Zepyur, which muslims are prospering? Can you please name them? Those who have endless oil resources? Or those muslims who everyday kill, rape and destroy homes of their minorities? Or those who cimmit genocides and other atrocities? Which ones are prospering because of their traditions? What is prosperity for you? For me, real prosperity is when there is real physical security of a person in the society – there is no such muslim state.

      The comparison between Armenians and muslims was very relevant, because it would be much easier to compare an average Armenian with a Turkish or Azeri rather than Armenian with German or Swedish. Culturally, in their traditionalist, irrational and emotional thinking they are very similar..

      Of course it is their right. How to use our sexual organs and other parts of body – it is even ridiculous that it can be not our right, but some one else’s right:))) Of course it is our right. It would be funny that someone could tell us how to use or not to use our body..

  22. A.Z.
    You are right. Constitution forms State.
    But it doesn’t form nation.
    Chiao.

    1. Realarmenia,

      I agree with you. But does Armenia need to form a nation AGAIN? Is not the Armenian nation formed already? I thought that the Armenian nation is one of the well established in the world… Our nation building and identity does not need to be formed again..

      Even if we would need to form a nation, we would need a state where we could form a nation. Now that we have the state and Constitution, my urge was to respect it as a matter of binding highest legal and moral rule. Traditions can be open to any one to choose or reject. But Constitution cannot be rejected – it will be a crime! Where a tradition contradicts the Constitution, the latter shall override the former!

      I wish I heard people in Armenia saying in their defense from some traditions that they do not accept “the Constitution of my state allows me to do this or not do something, therefore, let me alone (or piss off:)!”

  23. For those so concerned about the loss of morality symbolized by burying the apple- One of the main issues here is the double standard. Whether or not you agree with the burial of an apple, the fact is that there is only a symbol of the girl’s virginity. As ditord pointed out in his post, and so many others have discussed in the comments, it is the girl’s virginity that is so important. And its okay for the boy/man to have premarital sex (usually with sex-workers, usually bringing back sexually transmitted diseases to his virgin wife, who is then blamed for infertility).
    The inequality is the problem. Where is the fruit for the boy’s virginity? Where is the criticism for the boy/man’s premarital sex, or extra-marital sex later in life?
    Burying a fruit doesn’t mean girls are suddenly going to start have careless sex with all comers. The point is to help bring the perception of women’s sexuality to a more “healthy and natural” middle ground.
    Hymens should not be a commodity. But when a spot of blood can make or break a marriage, then the woman is devalued.

  24. Some people are in denial of similarities among Armenians ad Muslims while they are obvious. We have even adopted Arabic words for “good” and “bad/wrong”..”halal” and “haram”…
    One example: Imams insist Koran allows a husband to beat up his wife if she has done smt wrong. Isn’t it a wide spread “justification” of beating up among Armenians? “She has done smt wrong”…(wife or sister).
    And what is considered wrong/haram in Koran? For example, she is not allowed to go out of the house without husband’s permission. Needless to say that many of Armenian families not only in villages follow that “rule”. Reasons for justification of beating up among us and muslims are actually the same: she is not wearing proper ( covered up) clothes,sister/daughter was flirting with the “wrong” guy, food was not ready in time, she was not respec tful enough with with in laws , husband’s relatives, husband’s friends…
    In Armenian mentality it is up to the husband to decide what is right or wrong and they precisely coincide with Koran…
    I will repeat saying while we brag with us being the first Christian country we follow KORAN calling it “Armenian traditions”…

    A friend of mine from France says her Arabic friends have “red apple” tradition as well…

    1. Ai agree with you BSW. I talk to many people from middle east, Iraq, and what they tell is analogous to what I know from Armenia…

      So, ALL YOU, traditional guys! First, you need to conduct deeeeeeeep study of where these stupid traditions came to Armenian nation, and then only decide whether you defend them or destroy as soon as possible!

      A.Z

    1. Yeah, it’s a little crazy when teenagers without any life experience have kids and get married. They should wait at least till mid 20-s to get married an/or have kids.

      I wonder how much of them being under the spotlight caused this break-up. But it’s better to call it off sooner. Otherwise, being in an unhappy marriage and going through a divorce is much more painful.

  25. hi guys, i wud like to say red apple rule is a kind of wild rule,it sud be eliminate frm our culture.i think only we hv this shit thing in our country in all of the world.girls are equal to man,if we can loss our virginity b4 why not they cant do.its like taliban thing,even they dont do that.its very shame full.aftert all i wud like to say i hate this tradition.

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