I have one word for you, folks: LIGHTS. That’s right, it happened. Today was the official “lighting of the city” ceremony (I just made that name up, but that’s what it was). My coworker and I were talking about the lights just yesterday, and when I got in this morning, she said that she read they were going to have an event in Republic Square at 7PM to turn everything on. YES.
From that point on, the day was kind of perfect simply because of the anticipation of the lighting ceremony. That was my go-to topic of conversation with every single person I encountered, and I’ll just say that none of the Armenians were nearly excited enough. They were all like, “Yeah, they do this every year.” SO?? That doesn’t make it any less crazy! Though I guess it’s like anything else where you can become immune to the awesomeness if you let yourself get used to it.
Can we all agree to try harder to live each day with our eyes open? Okay, that sounds stupid if you take me literally. What I mean is that it’s way too easy to get used to the cool things that surround us, and we eventually start walking around without seeing them anymore. It’s even happened to me throughout this year, and sometimes I have to take a second to be like, “HEY! Lara! Wake up! You’re in ARMENIA (/India/Peru/Ghana/fill in the blank) right now. Take a look around, appreciate the awesomeness, and stop being such a goober!” I know, harsh words. No one likes to be called a goober, and the best way to avoid it is to not act like a goober.
Anyway, I need to go on a nighttime city walk now so that I can take a million pictures of all the crazy, ridiculous, insane, out of control, etc etc etc decorations and lights. This place is truly a winter wonderland. Recently, while I was in the middle of some rant about how many lights there are, the person I was talking to said something to the effect of, “But isn’t it like this in the US too?” HAHAHAHA. I mean, yes, there are plenty of excessive holiday decorations, but I have NEVER seen anything on the level of Yerevan. It’s the whole entire city! It’s not just one square or one street or one area. It’s everywhere.
I can’t tell you much of anything about the actual ceremony. Here’s the best summary you’re going to get out of me: It was supposed to start at 7. It didn’t start until at least 7:20. There were some dances and songs that I completely missed because I was too busy yelling at them to just turn the lights on already. Someone sang an Armenian version of the classic “All I Want for Christmas”, though apparently the translation wasn’t even close and ended up being a bit of a love song to the city (shocking… because all we need is another song about Yerevan. If you missed my post about Yerevan’s birthday, just know that there are more songs about Yerevan than about every other city in the world combined). There were people in weird, multicolored animal costumes dancing around.
Finally, the mayor and his family got up on stage and started the countdown from 10. I was jumping up and down from the excitement of the whole thing. I definitely win the award for most excited person over the age of 8. Maybe even just most excited person. The tree lights were not as cool as I wanted them to be, but THE FOUNTAINS. The fountains are the greatest things I’ve ever seen. I need to do a full post of photos of the fountain sculptures because they’re phenomenal. I didn’t get any good pictures tonight because there were too many people, but I promise I will!
After the tree lit up, the fireworks started. WHY. Why does every event need fireworks? I hate fireworks, mostly because they’re loud and make me want to hide under a blanket. I only used to tolerate 4th of July fireworks because those came along with licorice laces and other candy that gets permanently stuck in your teeth. To make things worse, here they always set them off WAY too close to people. I spent the entire time with my fingers in my ears and my eyes peeled for potential flying firework debris while simultaneously trying to check out all of the newly lit decorations. Why do you need fireworks when the whole point of the event was turning lights on? It’s basically the same things as fireworks except that nothing is exploding.
Anyway, in summary: today was wonderful, fireworks are the worst, and lights lights lights!!!!! I hope you’re not sick of me talking about them yet because I can promise this won’t be the last you hear of them.