Homenetmen Boston Family Keeps Caroling Tradition Alive
Posted on January. 10. 2020
The Armenian Weekly. WATERTOWN, Mass.—Homenetmen (HMEM) scouts traveled door-to-door caroling in Armenian homes throughout the suburban neighborhoods of Greater Boston on Sunday evening in celebration of Armenian Christmas Eve.
“I am thrilled that we passed the tradition onto the younger generation and that our house is filled with our community’s youth who are carrying Homenetmen’s mission to generations to come,” said longtime HMEM member Avo Barmakian. Barmakian is a founding father of this beloved tradition. Thirty years ago, a small troop would travel to just a handful of houses, but today, the Boston chapter enlists over 30 scouts to visit 20 houses.
Preparation for the annual event begins almost a month in advance. In addition to calling homeowners they’ve visited in years prior, leaders of the athletic and scouting organization reach out to new families in the community and add them to their growing list. Scouts then practice the carols during their weekly meetings every Saturday afternoon.
On Armenian Christmas Eve in decorated living rooms with glistening Christmas trees and captive audiences, the Boston scouts shared the sounds of the season, singing Armenian versions of “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” and other popular holiday songs.
Bella Khachatourian of Lexington said that waiting for the scouts to arrive at her doorstep is a tradition that she and her family look forward to every year. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
After caroling, scouts mingled with host families and their guests, delighting in homemade sweets and other desserts. Guests also generously donated to the chapter in exchange for HMEM tree ornaments and calendars.
“The best part is how excited the kids get,” said Gagoughtatig leader Marie Bazarbashian, “seeing that smile and being able to share that happiness with the Armenian community on Christmas is what it’s all about.”