For Armenia’s, October is traditionally a month of cultural celebration. During October, Armenia’s the world over celebrate their rich heritage, paying homage to those, who throughout our history, worked endless nights in dim candle light monasteries to translate into Armenian the vast riches of world literature.
“Tarkmanchats,” or the “Translators’ day” is celebrated every October in remembrance of the first book to be translated into Armenian–the Holy Bible.
After St. Mesrob Mashdots created the Armenian alphabet in 405 AD, The first generation of Armenian translators, scholars and theologians began the process of translating the Bible into Armenian. According to Armenian tradition, the long and arduous endeavor was completed in 425 AD.
Interestingly enough, the translation of the Bible into Armenian did not begin with Genesis, but with the Book of Proverbs.The first sentence in the Book of Proverbs thus became the first sentence to be translated into the newly minted Armenian alphabet.
“To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding.”
This thought has served as the guiding ethos for the Armenian nation for almost two centuries, providing hope and inspiration through dark days, glorious momen’s, periods of renaissance and rebirth.
Almost immediately after the Bible was translated, scholars stationed throughout the monasteries of ancient Armenia began to produce volume after volume of knowledge–history, philosophy, law, and theology–almost as if the alphabet had been created centuries before.
The birth of the Armenian alphabet and the translation of the Bible ushered in a new era for Armenia, making the fifth century the Golden Age of Armenian literature, laying the groundwork for the coming Renaissance of the 19th century that would see the establishment of a free and independent Armenia, founded upon the wisdom of Enlightenment thought.