Harissa: The National Dish Of Armenians
Harissa is an Armenian national meat dish, which in its appearance resembles a stew made from cracked wheat and poultry meat. Harissa is associated with the events of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey in 1915, when six Armenian villages on the Mediterranean coast in Ottoman Turkey decided to resist.
For almost 53 days, the Armenians of Musaler fought for their lives against Turkish soldiers and survived. There was very little food on the mountain and Harissa was the main food of the rebels, thanks to which they were saved from hunger and could keep the defense from the advancing Turkish troops. In the end, they were rescued by French sailors, who noticed a white banner that the Armenians tied on a tree with the inscription “Christians in distress: Save!”
In modern Armenia there is a village, also called “Musaler”, where a monument to this event is erected. Every year, in September, Musalerians gather at the monument and celebrate the victory they won a century ago.
All night long, in 40 huge cauldrons, they cook the beloved Musalerian dish Harissa and treat everyone present, gather around the bonfire and sing patriotic songs (40 cauldrons symbolize 40 days of heroic resistance of Armenians against the Turkish army).
To learn more about Armenia’s food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page