Halva, dghatsgani (Christening Day)
Halvah, Dghatsgani (Halavet Nefsah in the Assyrian Cookbook)
SevagHundig (Nigella) seeds
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.