Halva, dghatsgani (Christening Day)
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.
2. Place seeds in a baking tray and roast in a low heated oven seeds are dry and somewhat roasted.
3. Immediately grind fine in a grinder or blender.
4. Add powdered spices and mix thoroughly.
Add honey gradually and stir until the mixture becomes a very thick paste.
5. Place in shallow bowl, and decorate with almonds.
6. Served in small quantities, eaten sparingly with a spoon.
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.