On the Town:

Members of the Burbank Chapter of the Armenian National Committee recently joined Armenians worldwide to celebrate their traditional January observance of Christmas and stage their annual holiday reception and dinner.

“Within the Armenian community, we always kid one another about being on Armenian time,” laughed Michael Kiaman, who emceed last week’s event at the organization’s downtown Burbank facility. “Armenian time just means you’ll be late, so I guess it’s fitting that we also celebrate Christmas later than everyone else.”

While most Christians celebrate Christmas in late December, Armenians do so in early January. The reason for this stems back to the end of the 3rd Century when Roman Christians decided to recognize the birth of Christ on Dec. 25, to coincide with a pagan holiday. This decision was not accepted by the Armenian Church, and Armenian Christians continued to maintain the ancient tradition of celebrating the birth and baptism of Christ on Jan. 6.

Welcomed by the organization’s chairman, Hrant Dostounian, the committee’s members were joined at last week’s reception by local elected and appointed officials and representatives of the Burbank business community.

Among the special guests in attendance were the Rev. Komitas Torosian, Western Diocese Very Rev. Father Dajad Yardemian, Rabbi Richard Flom and his wife, Lynn Kronzek, Mayor Gary Bric, council members Dave Golonski, David Gordon and Jess Talamantes; school board members Ted Bunch, Dave Kemp and Roberta Reynolds; City Manager Mike Flad, Assistant City Manager Joy Forbes, former Mayor Mary Lou Howard, Burbank Fire Battalion Chief Ron Barone, Police Commissioners Hagop Hergelian and Elise Stearns-Niesen, park board members Garen Yegparian and Steven Ferguson.

Also enjoying the evening were Glendale school board members Greg Krikorian and Nayiri Nahabedian, interim Community Development Director Greg Hermann, Ania Alexandrian, Annette Kargodorian, Shoushan Boyadjian, Haig Hartounian, Greg Krikorian, Silva Kechichian, Gaidzag Shahbazian, Todd Neisen, Ara Boyadjian, Vahe Shahinian and Talin Mangioglu, who represented Sen. Carol Liu.

The Burbank Chapter of the Armenian National Committee is a grass-roots public affairs organization established to inform, educate and act on a wide range of issues concerning Armenian Americans throughout the area.

The Burbank committee has a long and growing tradition of serving the local Armenian American community and has drawn its strength from its dedicated members who have been successful in unifying Burbank’s Armenian Americans behind a common and positive agenda.

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