Published : Monday, December 10, 2018 | 6:05 AM
The American Armenian Rose Float Association (AARFA) has released the design for the next Armenian Rose Parade float, which will take part in the 130th Pasadena Tournament of Roses, on January 1, 2019. This will be the Armenian rose float’s fifth consecutive participation in the world-renowned tournament.
Carrying the theme “Chanting Stones: Karahunj,” the new Armenian rose float celebrates the greatness of Armenian culture, echoing the general theme of the 130th Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which is “The Melody of Life.”
The design of the Armenian rose float was inspired by the stones of Karahunj, a prehistoric monument consisting of a formation of megaliths, in Armenia’s Syunik Province, and often referred to as “the Armenian Stonehenge.” “Karahunj,” which means “speaking stones” or “chanting stones,” refers to the fact that on windy days, the massive standing stones of Karahunj make a distinctive whistling sound. Karahunj predates Stonehenge by 3,500 years.
In keeping with the musical theme of the 2019 Tournament of Roses, the newest Armenian float features a dynamic, exuberant design, with several Armenian musical and cultural references. The central element consists of a duo of dancers performing the yarkhushta, a beloved Armenian folk dance. The two dancing figures were taken from a painting by the acclaimed artist Meruzhan Khachatryan. The dancers are seen performing atop a formation of rocks adorned with khazes, the uniquely Armenian notes representing the ancient Armenian system of musical notation. The inclusion of the khazes here is particularly significant as it honors the 150th anniversary of the birth of Komitas, the renowned musicologist who was devoted to the decipherment of the khaz system.
Other elements of the float’s design include a scattering of apricot trees (the Latin name of the apricot, prunus armeniaca, means “Armenian plum”); as well as a duduk player and three Armenian mouflons, an endangered subspecies of wild sheep.
The design of the new Armenian rose float was conceived by AARFA Board member Johnny Kanounji.
On New Year’s Day, 2019, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses will be seen by about 700,000 spectators in Pasadena and a global audience in 145 countries and territories.
As in previous years, some 600 community volunteers will work on the floral assembly of the 2019 Armenian rose float. Given the considerable cost of materials and construction of the float, the AARFA is appealing for generous grassroots community support. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at www.aarfa.org/fundraising or sent to the following address: American Armenian Rose Float Association, P.O. Box 60005, Pasadena, CA 91116.