MONTEBELLO, Calif.—On Thursday, Jan. 9, the Armenian National Committee of America- San Gabriel Valley Chapter hosted its annual Armenian Christmas Dinner at the Montebello Armenian Center. Over 200 community leaders and 40 elected officials from throughout the San Gabriel Valley took part in the celebration that has become an esteemed tradition throughout the years. Attendees included State Controller John Chiang, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Assemblymember Ian Calderon and councilmembers from 10 local cities. The celebration is aimed at acquainting leaders of the San Gabriel Valley communities with the traditions of their Armenian constituents during the holiday season. The Center was overcome with holiday cheer as guests gathered to add new dimensions to age-old traditions.
Guests were greeted with the sounds of traditional Armenian instruments as the Hayrenik Band played beloved classics. In his introductory remarks, ANCA-San Gabriel Valley Chairman Viken Pakradouni expressed his gratitude to the numerous dignitaries who were in attendance. “It is a great honor to be able to share this occasion with so many of our supporters. We hope that this is a great start to a successful year, where we can work in unison to achieve our goals,” stated Pakradouni.
Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, the newly-appointed Dean of the Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello, led the guests in prayer and followed with an interesting overview of how Armenian Christmas came to be celebrated on January 6. Aznikian explained how the Armenian Church came to designate the day as the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany, commemorating the birth and baptism of Jesus Christ. Levon Kirakosian, Chairman of the ARF “Dro” Gomideh, further elaborated on the holiday traditions observed in Armenian homes, the historical relevance of these traditions, and what the new year signifies for the Armenian community.
Following the introductions, a traditional “khtoom” dinner was served that featured a host of Armenian favorites. As with the rest of the program, the dinner was in observance of all Armenian holiday traditions. Continuing with the program’s emphasis on showcasing Armenian culture, guests in attendance were treated to a performance by the students of the Vartan Gevorkian Dance Academy. The dinner concluded with a festive musical performance by the elementary school choir of the local Armenian Mesrobian School, who spread cheer with old and new holiday songs.
The ANCA-San Gabriel Valley would like to extend gratitude to the community leaders and elected officials who attended the event. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Sheriff of Los Angeles County Lee Baca, California State Controller John Chiang, California State Assemblymember Ian Calderon, Tony Mendoza who is a leading contender in the upcoming local State Senate election, Jack Hadjinian, Vivian Romero and Art Barajas from the Montebello City Council, David Armenta and Gustavo Camacho from the Pico Rivera City Council, Mike Gipson and Jim Deer from the Carson City Council, Fernando Dutra from the Whittier City Council, Sandra Armenta and Margaret Clark from the Rosemead City Council, Juventino Gomez, Victoria Martinez, Part Patel and Norma Macias from the El Monte City Council, Teresa Real Sebastian from the Monterey Park City Council, Lilia Leon from the Commerce City Council, Rosa Perez from the Huntington Park City Council, Pedro Aceituno from the Bell Gardens City Council, Montebello City Attorney Arnold Glasman, Montebello Fire Chief Dominic Hebert, Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure, Montebello City Administrator Francesca Tucker-Schuyler, Edgar Cisneros, Benjamin Cardenas, David Vela, and Lani Cupchoy from the Montebello Unified School District, and Representative for Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Yvette Shahinian.
The Armenian National Committee of America- San Gabriel Valley is a local chapter of the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the United States. The ANCA-SGV advances the issues of the region’s Armenian-American community on the local, state and federal level.