The program of HayBuys Festival shares with the visitors the aesthetics of plantlife in Armenia, especially in the sense of "Plants as elements of ornament-decoration-beauty". In our culture, plants are widely used in all spheres: food, clothing, everyday life, decorative art, apartment decorations, dinnerware, furniture, monasteries and churches, as well as church utensils. For thousands of years Armenians have lived close to nature and in nature, with daily contact, conversation with plants, trees and flowers, as well as interesting stories. Pants have nourished, protected and healed people from various diseases, becoming an element of ornament on walls of churches and buildings, and in dozens of medieval manuscripts. The attitude towards plants has itself transformed into knowledge which has been passed down for generations. Due to this powerful knowledge, Armenians in Shirak, Syunik and Tavush can name all the plants and fruits growing in forests and fields as well as their ripening period at a glance, as well as determine the best time to enter the forest. With the density of high quality plants, Armenia occupies one of the leading places in the world, with about 107 species growing in every 1000 km2. For comparison, the species found in Armenia make up about half of those found in the Caucasus. Tavush region is no exception. Most of the RA forest areas are located here. "About 54% of the territory of Tavoush is comprised of mixed forests (113 566.7 acres) and specially protectied areas (33 031.6 acres), such as Dilijan National Park, reserves, etc., which make up 38% of the Armenia’s forest areas and cover mainly the central and southern parts of the region.”1 It is interesting to find out the role of plants in different spheres at different times: plants as ornaments, decorations of human life, folk and modern ways of combining beauty and colors, their multifaceted beauty and flowers as the main plant ornament. In Armenian decorative art, plant motifs are very essential due to the huge role of flora in human life. The idea of the tree of life is essential in the "HayBuys" festival program, because it symbolizes the universe, eternity and continuity of life, which is particularly important this year due to the difficulties and challenges. The flower with its delicate and short life is the symbol of growth and the power of transformation. This main message will be the theme of the Festival program this year. The flower, which reflects and emphasizes the beauty of plants, is especially substantiated in “Plants as Ornaments” concept. Flowers are the most essential part of plants, because they guarantee the continuity, rebirth and growth of plants.
"HayBuys" festival is an annual event, which is being organized in the territory of "Apaga Resort" located in Yenokavan community of Tavush region. The HayBuis Festival, translated as “Armenian Herb,” celebrates the special ingredients and the traditional knowledge used to forage and prepare the herbs. The festival, which has been held since 2015, on the last Saturday of June. The area of Yenoqavan, where the festival is held, is a unique condensation of Tavush nature and culture, where you can see almost everything that is typical to the northeastern region of Armenia. The choice of the location is based on the opportunities and experience of the previous years of using the area, as well as the thematic approach: Plant - Ornament, Plant – Flower. During the festival, the territory is divided into 3 conditional areas: exhibition selling the works of artisans, cuisine, as well as songs and dances, games zones. The center of each of the zones is the traditional local tent, a temporary shelter made of branches and grass, called “dagya” in the local dialect, which was usually used as a shelter for herdsmen. These lodges are designed for participatory events or master classes, as well as a relaxing area for visitors. The organizers group the master artisans according to the fields in order to make the thematic series visible, to promote the network cooperation of the masters and to ensure the exchange of knowledge and skills. The main, symbolic part of the festival area is the Garden of the Tree of Life. The garden area has become a festival "home" for winemakers and participants associated with the toast tradition.
- “Burastan” site is for displaying the plants / flowers, floristic and design designs, and flora-related events.
- The kitchen is designed for events that involve a culinary component, such as cooking classes, testings, etc.
- The flower stage, which is the traditional stage area of the festival, will host singers, dancers, reciters and masters of speech.
Main sub-themes of the Festival programs and events were specified within the festival concept "Plants as Ornaments, Plants as Flowers".
Groups of people, who will participate in the festival as an entertainment event, will be indirectly involved in the festival's targeted educational and cognitive events such as master classes, cooking experiences and games and will interact with the festival program called Plants as Flower Ornaments. In case of extensive and targeted coverage, the festival can become an attractive place for families to visit, especially those with children who enjoy the beautiful nature of the Yenoqavan Resort. They will also have an opportunity to find activities for different age groups, learn new knowledge and experiences, such as building grass-tents, games, carpet weaving with flowers and plants, weaving flower wreaths, and other hobbies that are completely unfamiliar to children living in cities, and can revive fun memories in parents and create new learning platforms for children. For individual tourists or groups, participation in the festival can be an opportunity to discover the regional features of Armenia. At the same time, they can learn about the prolific and modernized culture, traditions and new practices of plants, get acquainted with artists, masters and visitors, as well as share space, environment and mood with them.
Key partners and supporters
The partners of the festival are: EU, UNDP, GIZ, APAGA Resort, Ijevan Wine Factory, Yell Extreme Park, Tavush Region Tourism Development Agency.
Participants, local community and customer segment
Festivals are different from fairs because during festivals participants demonstrate, glorify and take pride in human creativity. From this point of view, the power of storytelling is key in selecting participants and shaping the festival concept. While selecting participants gender and age balance was taken into account by voting for women, young people as well as older people in order to encourage inter-generation solidarity and harmony. Festival participants were selected based on their skills and perceptions of plants as ornaments. Artisans, artists and cooks hold exhibitions and tell stories about how they got inspired by plant-ornaments and became creators, and why they are still motivated to create and be close to nature in the era of globalization. Participants have extensive experience and skills, they are ready and willing to share and teach their stories and experiences, they know what topics should be told to children or young people, they master the nuances of their occupation, cultural traditions, constantly follow the advances in their sphere and are not constrained by human communication and interaction. Festival organizers are guided by the principles of inclusion and participation, trying to involve the widest possible range of participants and different groups, as well as trying to make the festival accessible to everyone, such as children with special needs and initiatives.
The target audience of the festival is large and diverse. As the festival has a clearly defined educational goal, it can be interesting for Tavush residents because it gives an opportunity to rediscover their local nature. The people of Tavush region are "multi-layered" too: on one hand, there are people who still live in the region, and on the other hand, there are people have left Tavush although they belong there by their origin, birthplace and roots, and have their own or transferred memories about the scent and colors of their local nature. Visitors of this group will be able to reconnect with their birthplace or the memory of the terroir during the festival by participating in different exhibitions, master classes and direct participation in events related to familiar plants, their forms, colors and manifestations. It has a stable group of visitors from Yerevan, who would like to participate due to the annual program change of the festival in order to gain new knowledge and experience.
Communication and dissemination channels
The organizers mainly used digital marketing tools, like - HayBuys official website (http://haybuis.com/), About Haybuis Armenian Herb Festival (https://myarmenia.si.edu/en/guide/experience/haybuis-festival/), HayBuys official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HayBuis.festival/) , Apaga Resort official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ApagaResort) The promotional video of the festival – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8gzThFIGvY).
Specific elements and features
Yenokavan is 140 km away from the capital Yerevan, and 9,3 km away from the regional center Ijevan. More information on availability can be found at https://t-armenia.com/en/app. You can also reach Yeokavan by going to Ijevan from the Northern Bus Station of Yerevan and continuing the way by taxis.
Image Sources: https://www.facebook.com/HayBuis.festival/
Republic of Armenia, Tavush region, village Yenokavan
The festival is being held on the last Saturday of June.