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For many people in the Southland, Christmas falls on January 6

St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church in Los Angeles
St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church in Los Angeles
Clinton Steeds/ Flickr

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Many people in the Southland are still exchanging Christmas greetings. That’s because no small number of the close to a quarter-million people of Armenian descent in these parts traditionally mark the day in January. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall has more about the observance.

The Armenian Apostolic Church marks the birth of Jesus and the baptism of his cousin John the Baptist on January 6. As with many Latinos, that date also marks the Epiphany — the visit of three kings or wise men to Jesus’ birthplace.

In the Armenian tradition, religious and spiritual activities predominate — special liturgies, home blessings and family feasts are part of the celebration.

This holiday, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian — primate of the Armenian Church in the western United States — is touring California parishes.

Not a few Armenian Americans reserve gift exchanges for the 25th of December — and observe the Christmas season through this first week in January.