History of Khoshmat - Dr. Mardiros H. Chakoian

Editorial note


Vartan Vartanian


Chapter 1: Palu and the fort

Chapter 2: Monasteries and Sanctuaries


Chapter 1: Education in Palou

Chapter 2: United Association of Armenians in Palou

• Havav

• Nerkhi

Chapter 3

• Villages of Palou

• Statistics of Palou Armenian-inhabited villages

• The Great Earthquake of Palou


Chapter 1

• Khoshmat

• The Holy Mother of God Church

• The Church of Khoshmat

• Priests

Chapter 2 : Sanctuaries

• Abdul-Mseh (Donag)

• Holy Cross

• Holy Cathedral

• St. Giragos

• St. Mangig

Chapter 3

• Springs

• Field Springs

• Humanlike Stones

Chapter 4

• Tbrotsasirats Association and the School of Khoshmat

• Teachers (1880-96)

• The First Graduates of the School of Khoshmat

• The Last Graduates of Khoshmat’s High School (1913-1914)

• Khoshmat Through My Eyes

Chapter 5: The Intellectuals of Khoshmat

• Arakel Babajanian

• Bedros effendi Fermanian

• Hampartsoum Oulousian

• Vahan Oulousian

• Vartan Dirad

• Garabed Klanian

• Sarkis B. Klanian

• Toros Klanian

• Bedros Papazian

• Boghos H. Chakoian

• Haroutiun Vartanian

• Manoug Dzaghigian

• Kapriel Frangian

• Dikran Ghazaros Bedigian

• Hagop Ghazaros Bedigian

• Mikayel Khodjoian

• Boghos Deradourian

• Hampartsoum Harutounian (Bournousouzian)

• Bethlehem Markarian (Shaghougian)

• Mgrdich Malian

• Boghos Papazian

• Karekin Garabedian

• Father Manoug Khodjoian

• Hovhannes Klanian

Chapter 6 : The Important Initiatives of the Tbrotsasirats Association of Khoshmat

Chapter 7 : Ladies Auxiliary Society of Khoshmat

Chapter 8 : Architects

• Aznavour Efendi Khodjoian

• Toros Khalifa Malian (Ghazarian) Kara Toros

• Mardiros Ghazarian

• Simon Khalifa Bedigian or Melkonian

• Arakel Milidosian

• Garabed Milidosian

• Sahag Oulousian

• Haji Krikor Milidosian

• Donabed Khabloian (Arghntsonts)

• Markar Shaghougian

• Kokona Vartan

Chapter 9 : Various types of crafts

• Joinery

• Masonry

• Carpeting

• Pottery

Chapter 10 : Manufacturing

• Oil presses of Khoshmat

• Hand Millstone

• Fruits

• Vegetables


Chapter 1 : Traditions and Customs

• New Year

• Christmas

• Paregentan

• Easter

• Wedding

• Life of the Bride

• Songs

• Popular Medicine

• Wishes and blessings

• Curses

• Things portending misfortune

• Dream interpretation

• Riddles

• Sayings (Fables)

• Provincial Proverbs (Talks)

• Commonly used phrases

• Games (for boys)

• Words of wisdom from the elderly people

Chapter 2 : Historic Characters and Famous Events

• Father Khachadour Shiroian

• Father Reteos Simonian

• Mardiros Shahen Chakoian

• Sarkis effendi Dzaghigian’s royal medal

• Boghos Harutounian

• Nazar Nazarian

• The Power of the Pitchfork and Khachig Chakoian

• How Sarkis Vartanian Drowned

• Fragment of Soukias Depoian’s Life

• How We Left Khoshmat and The Intercession of St. Mangig in 1896

• Farewell of Seven Young Men

• Fragments of Simon Simonian’s Life

• Abduction of Paro (A Group of Pilgrims)

• Tax Collectors

• Incident with Bedros Simonian

• Interesting Memoirs of Krikor Der Khachadourian (Koko)

• Mardiros Shaghougian (Kaloian) - One of His Episodes

• Fragment of Sarkis Shahin Chakoian’s Life

• Hagop Tatigian (Ali Baba)

• Haroutiun Deradourian and the Incident with the Box of Eggs

• The herdsman of Khoshmat, by Sarkis Shahrigian

• An Interesting Incident in the Life of the Herdsman


Chapter 1 : Notorious Beys of Palou

• Keor Abdullah bey

• Khoshmatlian Dynasty and Beys

Chapter 2

• Khoshmat Resistance – 1897

• The Bloody Fight

• Trial of the Beys

• The End of the Beys

• The Meliks of Khoshmat

Chapter 3 : The Order to Begin the Massacre

• The Role of Garabed Klanian and Misak Shaghougian (Kaloian)

• Khachadour Shiroian’s memoirs (From Canada)

• Mgrdich Taraian (from Marseille): Taken from his Bloody Memoirs

• Apkar Simonian

• Baghdasar Deradourian (from Marseille): Memoirs

Chapter 4

• Soldiers of Khoshmat

• Khoshmat Volunteers

• A Fragment of Volunteer’s Life

• A Fragment of Benjamin Shaghougian’s Life (A Volunteer)

• Other Soldiers Native of Khoshmat

Chapter 5 : Photos of Khoshmat Armenians

Chapter 6 : People of Khoshmat in Constantinople (Taken from the notes of the late Toros Klanian)

Chapter 7 : People of Khoshmat in Diaspora

• People of Khoshmat in France

• People of Khoshmat in Soviet Armenia

• People of Khoshmat in Syria

• People of Khoshmat in Canada

• People of Khoshmat in America

Hand Millstone

A hand millstone is a stone tool used for grinding grains. The millstone consists of two round symmetrical stones, one of those stones (stationary) being heavier than the other one (runner stone). The heavier stone is usually placed on the ground, on white sheets or is attached to the roof, while the other stone with a wooden handle on it lies upon the first one. In the center of the runner stone there is a four-inch round opening allocated for grains.

The main purpose of these two stones is to grind bulgur. Grains that are baked and dried beforehand are thrown into this hole and crumbled due to the quick rotation of the tool. This is exactly how the best Armenian dishes such as pilaf, lapa, and keofdeh (patties) are prepared.

The preparation of bulgur is a period of enjoyment and feasting for the people of Khoshmat. Usually this ceremony takes place in autumn, after the threshing process when the wheat is already measured and placed in big earthen barns or petags (special boxes made for keeping flour and wheat.) A part of the grain is set aside for making bulgur. In autumn during their spare time the villagers start preparing for the winter. After the sun dries, the grains placed on white sheets, the villagers bring their hand millstones. With one hand they spin the upper part of the millstone, while with the other hand they pour bulgur into the hole located in the center of the tool where the bulgur is crumbled. This work is performed by men, women, and girls.

Grinding again and again the villagers make bulgur of different sizes and shapes; large, medium, and small. More often than not this work is done on the roof of a building beneath bright moonlight. Two or three villagers sit there for hours constantly spinning the handle of the tool. After a brief rest they may sit cross-legged around the hand millstone and begin rotating the tool again.

Usually the young girls of the village are also invited to take part in this ceremony. In this way the villagers have a chance to get to know them better and decide whether they might be good wives for their sons. The young ladies, who are well aware of this tradition, are happy to join either their sister or sister-in-law and help them with their work. They get approval either from the mother of the young man or any other elder women of the family; neither the young man nor his father has the right to express his opinion about the ladies.

It should be mentioned that young girls who are neither engaged nor married are allowed to speak and laugh around people. They don’t shy away from helping their fellow villagers by working with the sickle, assisting them at the time of grape harvest (aykegootk) and grinding bulgur; they know that no one is going to reprimand them for that. They are allowed to work together with young men and sometimes even joke with them. Of course, everyone knows that these meetings of two young people can become subjects for discussion later.

After working for long hours, the neighbors take a rest on beds made on the roof. This is when the lady of the house brings a large pot filled with pilaf or porridge made from fresh bulgur. She doesn’t forget about tahn or boranig soup either. The villagers stop working and gather round the short khoncha (table) placed somewhere on the roof. The dishes in karghans (earthen pots) are placed in the center of the khoncha. Sometimes the lady of the house deliberately doesn’t bring enough spoons for everyone so that the young man and girl sitting next to each other must use the same spoon while eating. When the karghans are almost empty, the lady of the house either takes her wooden scoop and puts more food in the karghans or crumbles up some bread into the soup.

After the villagers have had a good dinner, the lady of the house treats them to walnuts, raisins, bastegh (apricot leather) and other types of cereals. Then she asks them to take some rest so as to be able to continue working into the evening.

After the meal, the villagers usually share interesting stories and jokes.
One of them asks: "Hey, which one of you will come to grind bulgur tomorrow early in the morning…? I bet Mro (Mariam) won’t!” (This refers to a girl living in the neighborhood.)
Upon hearing this announcement, Mariam’s sister-in-law (her brother’s wife) protests, saying: "How dare you to speak badly of Mro?  Poor girl hasn’t slept for an entire week, but how could you even know, Sulto (Sultan)?" The conversation continues.
Sultan: “If not me, then who? Truth be told, when I felt sick Mro would wake up early in the morning, she would use the spinning wheel (chahrag), light the fire, fill the lamp with the oil, feed the hens, sweep the yard and attic.”
Sarah: “We all would fall asleep and if I made an attempt to get up, she would stop me, saying, ‘You haven’t given birth yet Sarah, take a nap, I will do everything instead of you.’"
Another villager: “You forgot to mention that she is a great young girl. What else does she need? She just needs to get married and that’s all. We will tackle that problem in winter. We have already let Der Baba hear about it.”
Sultan shouts again: "It’s too soon for our Mro to get married. Let her stay at home for some more time."
The young man’s mother replies: "You’re talking nonsense! Mro was already born in the Year of Looting. She was three months old then and my Mcho (Mgrdich) was 10. I know my neighbors very well. I even know how old her great-great-grandfather was."
Everyone laughs. "Nazig, please tell us how old the late Khchapar (the girl’s great-great-grandfather) was? How can you know his age when you haven’t ever seen him?"
"Darling, you’re right. I’ve never seen the late Khchapar. However, one day when the men of the village came to our house and sat by the fire, my husband asked me to treat our guests to strong oghi (raki) and wine so that they could drink and talk with each other. I can clearly remember the day when the old man Oynapar (Hovhannes) said: ‘Khchapar was eighty-nine years old when he died. It was the year of the earthquake, that’s why I will never forget it.’"
*The year of the earthquake: The villagers didn’t have a calendar (they avoided using it in order to be able to lie to the evil Turkish tax collectors about the age of the men living in the village) so they compared each other’s ages by recalling the dates of important events. They say, the year of the medz jaj - referring to the year of the earthquake. Choran Year - referring to the year when animals were infected. The Looting Year- referring to the massacre of 1895. The Year of Kaloients’ Thieves - referring to the year when Shaghugian’s house was robbed. The Herd’s Year - referring to the year when the herd of the village was stolen, etc.

These innocent conversations could be very useful because very often due to them, new happy families were created. If the young man’s mother and the elder women of the house like the young girl, they ask her to prepare her dowry. To display his courage and show devotion, the young man goes to remote forests, cuts oak branches (as a fuel) and brings the sheaves to the house of the young girl, saying, "This is for you!"

This is exactly how the people of Khoshmat lived…