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  22/02/2018   9:14

 Musaler feast
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On the way to Echmiadzin, on the right you can easily notice an orange severe eagle-like building. It is Musaler memorial and museum.Musaler is an Armenian village situated in the marz of Armavir. This small village is a symbol of Armenian will to survive, a firmness of national spirit.

Musaler was situated on the Mediterranean coast, on the territory of historical Armenia, in today's Turkey by the Syrian border. The event that has come to symbolize the people of Musa Ler with its unique Armenian culture, history and language unfolded during the bloody year of 1915 when Turkish plan of ethnic cleansing of Armenians was started. Armenians have been announced to leave their homeland, but Musaler population ignored deportation edict issued by Young Turk regime and chose to resist against Turkish troops and decided to climb the mountain and organize self-defense.The 4300 inhabitants of Musa Ler for 53 days repelled onslaughts by Turkish armies. They were starving without food and water, they were out in the rain for days and in order to warm themselves and not to lose the presence of mind and courage they were dancing to the music of zurna and drum.

And Musaler resisted and the death was weak against the immortal heroes of Musaler. They noticed warships in the sea and French sailors sighted a banner the Armenians had tied to a tree on the mountain emblazoned with the words: "œChristians in Distress: Rescue."

French and British naval ships evacuated 4,200 people from Musa Ler to Port Said in Egypt. The Armenians were allowed to return after World War First to their homeland in the newly formed Syria, but in 1939 Musa Dagh Armenians abandoned their villages for second and final time, when Turkey annexed the region. Many of them were resettled in Lebanon, in the village Aynchar, and many others settled in Armenia, in the village of Musa Ler.

This historical event later inspired Franz Werfel to write his novel "œThe Forty Days of Musa Dagh". This book became an instant bestseller for all times. In Europe many Jews read it as a warning about their fate. During the Holocaust years, copies of the novel have been circulated from hand to hand among the ghetto's defenders as a source of inspiration and a call to arms against Nazis.

The people of Musa Ler, wherever they are in the world, always remember their history, culture and language. Every year on the anniversary of the heroic stance on the mountain, descendants of the Musa Ler pay tribute to the fallen and celebrate the victory every year on the third Sunday of September. Only once a year one can see forty cauldrons boiling Harisa, a traditional food of Musadaghians. People are up all night until sunrise, preparing this delicious meal made from wheat and red meat under beating of drums.

Harissa has an historical past. It was served both on festive and funeral occasions and for this very reason it is cooked from the meat of a lamb sacrificed with a priest's blessing.Only to 14 natives of Musaler are honored to cook harisa and it is handed down from father to son.

During the preparation of national meal all night long Musalerians are gathering around the fire, beat the drums, and sing traditional songs and dance. Even the elderly residents of village for a moment forget their diseases, throw away their walking sticks, straighten their backs and began to dance.

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