Barekendan is an old Armenian traditional festival that we are seeking to revive as a form of civil action by calling upon the citizens to “wake up” and become involved in social processes in Armenia. In particular, this holiday is an occasion in which traditional norms and routines are rejected and reversed. People wear masks, costumes and participate in games, performances and jokes as a way of truly expressing their opinions. In other words, it is an occasion in which people are urged not to be passive and instead alert. As Lent begins the day after Barekendan, it is the final call for people to be uninhibited in their actions prior to the start of a period of fasting.
Seeing as how the Parliamentary elections of 2007 are critical for the democratization processes in Armenia, Barekendan serves as an ideal occasion for the civil society activists to call upon their fellow dormant citizens to “wake up” and become involved. We are seeking to accomplish this goal by organizing a parade and day of festivities on February 18, 2007. On this day, we plan on dressing in costumes, offering face painting, passing out sweets and candies among other treats.