Blessing Of The Grapes: Armenian Church Performs 100th Ceremony

Sun, water and a successful harvest.

That's what more than 2,000 local Armenians asked for on Sunday during one of the Central Valley's oldest traditions. They chanted songs in Armenian, many of which were written specifically for Sundays Blessing of the Grapes ritual.

The Armenian Holy Trinity Church performed the Blessing of the Grapes for the 100th time, making it one of the Central Valley's oldest traditions.

The tradition dates 3,000 years to ancient Armenia, according to the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic church.The ritual was adopted in the Valley for the first time in 1913 by the downtown Fresno chapter.

"The grapes are considered the queen of all crops in the Armenian culture. Since Armenians adapted Christianity, and the grapes being the source of the wine, that we are using in our services, we consider grapes as the queen of all crops," said Varoujan Der-Simonian.

As a popular Valley fruit, Armenian and American farmers alike share on the survival of the royal fruit.

Patricia Bouloudjian has been to 66 grape-blessing ceremonies.

"It's a tradition it keeps up by faith and I have brought my children up the same way," Bouloudjian said. "My daughter is trying to bring her children up the same way. They are bi-Americans. They are half Americans, half Armenians."

As Armenian and American lifestyles continue to intertwine, Armenians say traditions like the Grape Blessing keep them connected to their roots.