Halva, dghatsgani (Christening Day)

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Halvah, Dghatsgani (Halavet Nefsah in the Assyrian Cookbook)


1 lb. sevagHundig (Nigella) seeds

1/4 tsp powdered cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp powdered cloves

1 tsp powdered ginger

1 tsp powdered nutmeg


blanched whole almonds, slightly roasted


1. Make certain seeds are free of foreign matter.



Dghatsgani Halva is a Dikranagerdtsi recipe with an interesting name.

Dghah can mean child, infant, baby or lad. So, it doesn't necessarily mean a

boy, or excluding a girl.

Dghatsgan means woman in child-bed, or lying-in woman. Child-bed means the

condition of a woman in the process of giving birth. Lying-in woman means the

old childbirth practice involving a woman resting in bed for a period of time

after giving birth. Bed rest.

Made with ground SevagHundig (Nigella seeds), honey, ginger, and other spices,

Deghatsgani Halva, along with Hassa, is prepared to celebrate the birth or

Christening of a new born child.

It did, however, have a secondary use as a health measure.

Back in the days when Armenians would frequent the Turkish Baths, a new mother

would be taken there by her friends and relatives, and have her body smeared

with the halva in order to alleviate any lingering pains from childbirth.

Also, mothers would smear the halva, with protective covering, on the chests of

their small children during severe winter weather. It is assumed that the ginger

ingredient was what kept them warm.