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Letter: About Purple and Dziran - 2002

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About Purple and Dziran
Letter to the Editor
Published in the Armenian Reporter International
November 2, 2002

Dear Editor:

There has been some lively and good-natured commentary in letters to the editor of The Armenian Reporter International on the subject of the Armenian Tricolor, and I’d like to add my own two cents’ worth.

By coincidence or by design, a parallel exists between the sacred scripture and the Tricolor. In the Book of Exodus, Jehovah charges Moses with the task of making holy garments for his brother, Aaron, for the glory and for beauty, that he may minister to Jehovah in his priest’s office. And that the garments shall be made of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen. In the Armenian Liturgy, the Megheti “Undryalt” is sung before the Badarak or Mass when the celebrant is a bishop. In it the celebrant is compared to Aaron who was arrayed in the garment made by Moses. The robe was made of four substances – “ee Garmroh, ee Gaboudoh, ee Pehezoh, ee Dziranvoh.” Translated, it would read, “of Red, of Blue, of Fine Linen, of Apricot:

Of course, there are still those who will insist that the dictionary definition of dziran as a color is purple, as evidenced in the translation of Hebrew scripture into Armenian. However, we are still in need of some scholarly treatment on how purple came to mean dziran. Perhaps members of the clergy can shed some light on the matter.

C.K. Garabed
Teaneck, NJ