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Photo: Catholicos Garegin II during the traditional Christian rite of feet-washing in Echmiadzin on Thursday

By Shakeh Avoyan

Armenians faced heftier-than-usual food bills on Saturday as they made final preparations for Easter, the main holiday of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The prices of eggs, fish and greens shot up in the run-up to Sunday’s festival, with retailers seeking to capitalize on an increased demand in the three principal ingredients of the Armenian Easter meal.

Shoppers in Yerevan expressed their discontent with the brief price hikes. “I have noticed that the same thing happens ahead of any other major holiday,” said one angry woman.

“I am a pensioner. How can I afford this?” asked another. “This is not a holiday for all.”

Fish, the main Easter dish in Armenia, was on Saturday twice as expensive as a few days before, while eggs cost 30 percent more than they usually do. Armenians, like most other Christians around the world, boil and paint them to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The traders, for their part, complained that their pre-holiday sales are down from last year’s level, dismissing suggestion that the higher prices were responsible for the claimed downturn. Still, the Easter trade in the city’s food stores and bazaars appeared rather brisk.

The focal point of the holiday celebrations will be the town of Echmiadzin where Catholicos Garegin II will preside over a liturgy in the main cathedral of the Armenian Church on Sunday.

On Thursday, Garegin washed the feet of 12 young Armenian clerics -- a traditional rite commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus and his 12 disciples. The ceremony was followed by the blessing of oil and water used in the church sacraments.

He also attended religious services commemorating Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified and died on the cross.
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