FRESNO–The heroic struggle and victory of the Forty Days of Mousa Dagh will be celebrated Labor Day weekend–marking the 90th year of remembrance for the people from the small Armenian villages–once located in the Cilician region–now in Turkey.
During the years of the Armenian genocide–the people of Mousa Dagh were being forced by the Turks to change their ways and religion. The townspeople courageously refused to fall into the hands of the Turks and climbed atop their mountain called Mousa Ler.
They fought the Turkish soldiers off for 40 long days and were miraculously saved by a French ship passing by on the Mediterranean Sea.
For the past 30 years–the Mousa Dagh Commemoration Committee in Fresno has put together a weekend memorial. The tradition began with just a few families trying to keep their heritage alive and now attracts around 800-1000 people a year.
This year’s festivities will begin with a picnic on Saturday–September 3–at the Fresno Fairgrounds from 7 pm to midnight. The cooking of the Herisa–a lamb and whole wheat stew–will begin and traditional Davoul Zourna music will be performed–followed by international music by DJ Mamik. Admission is $3 per person.
Primate of the Western Prelacy Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian will celebrate the Divine Liturgy Sunday morning on the Fairgrounds at 10:30 am. Guest speaker Rev. Joe Matossian–Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America–will also be giving a sermon.
Following the service will be the blessing and serving of the Herisa accompanied by a Kef-time with Davoul Zourna music until 3 pm.
The festivities will continue on through the night with a Victory Celebration dinner-dance at 7 pm. in the Fresno Fairgrounds hall. Well-known Mousa Dagh singer Shahe Sekayan and his band will play Armenian and other music.
Dance admission is $15 and kebab dinner will be available for an additional $10. All events are open to the public.
"We invite everybody to come celebrate this victory of the Forty Days of Mousa Dagh," George Karkazian said–"to remember the great battle of Mousa Ler and the heroes who fell fighting for our religious freedom."
For more information and donations contact Garo Istanboulian at (559) 226-4176. For dance reservations please call George Karkazian at (559)297-0201.