Hands Across Hayastan

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By Marianna Grigoryan
ArmeniaNow Reporter

This year Armenians will have a chance to celebrate the First Republic Day, May 28, in an original way. A move is underfoot, literally, to have more than 160,000 Armenians join in a `Round Dance of Unity'.

`All our nation will unite around the round dance of unity,' says Aram Karapetyan, the head of the Nig Aparan Compatriots Union and the headquarters of the `Round Dance of Unity' initiative.

Karapetyan says the idea of the initiative has been circulating for so long nobody can tell where the idea comes from.

`All of us hand in hand will dance the round dance of unity at two o'clock that day,' says Karapetyan. `The people are so excited we couldn't have expected, and we feel excited of it even more. People come to register with families and organizations bring long lists of participation.'

Karapetyan says the round dance will start at the new bridge in Ashtarak and make a circle that will include the cities of Ashtarak, Talin, Artik, Aragats, Alagyaz of two marzes, and the dance will close on the Ashtarak Bridge again.

According to a special plan, participants will arrive at the main roads where they will join hands. Diaspora are expected among the guests.

Karapetyan says delegations from Kazakhstan and Belarus will arrive in Armenia to take part in the event. The Karabagh delegation headed by the Prime Minister will also arrive. Ten applicants from Turkey have wished to participate, two of them ethnic Turks.

`This is a dance when scientists and craftsmen, artists and doctors, peasants and citizens will be hand in hand,' says Karapetyan. `Well-known artists, officials, scientists, doctors will be present, who will address the people in special videos broadcasted by TV before the event.'

Karapetyan says all these will be shot from one or two helicopters as the round dance hopes to get recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records.

`There has not been such a thing in the world before when so many people joined hands,' the excited leader says (having apparently not heard of the `Hands Across the World' phenomena). `The representatives of the Guinness book will also be present that day and we will be registered in the book of records.'

The territory for the round dance takes nearly 160 kilometers. It has been estimated that ideally some 160,000 participants are needed, although the organizers believe the number of participants will be more.

`The participants are different,' says Karapetyan. `Owing to the works that started a month ago more than 110,000 have applied for participation - individuals and mainly organizations with all their staffs.'

At the same time for more variety of the round dance, according to the organizer, the organizations will participate in their professional dresses, - the doctors in white smocks, and the individuals the way they prefer.

Educational institutions will also participate in the initiative. There will also be participants on horses and in royal coats. Each registered participant will get a special certificate of participation.

`At present we work on providing national music all around the 160 kilometers,' says Karapetyan. `Besides the national music, we have planned participation of 1,600 professional dancers, although 10,000 have applied for it; they will make the event more lively.'

Within the frameworks of the event, 36 khachkars with Armenian letters will be placed; they will also plant 200,000 poplars.

According to Karapetyan, the poplar has been chosen because these trees do not need special care and there is no problem of regular irrigation.

Karapetyan says everything is planned beforehand to escape misunderstanding. The police will support the event with its different regiments.

`We hope everything will be wonderful, and we will surprise the world with this original initiative and will be registered in the Guinness Book of Records,' says Karapetyan. `People will stand hand in hand for nearly an hour so that the helicopters manage to shoot the video; then the national celebrations will start, with singing and dancing and feasting, for which special tables will be installed.'

Copyright (c) 2005, Armenianow.com. Used with permission.