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“Wake up, Nuri! It’s Palm Sunday - your special day!”

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Nuri Dolls with their favorite donkey

While this was exclaimed by Armenian girls all across the land who loved their dolls, it was one of several rituals that Armenians celebrated with dolls associated as a goddess of mother nature.

The Nuri doll was considered a salvation to the villagers to provide rain to the parched fields and gardens. According to the belief, when people and animals suffered from water scarcity, Nuri cried and her tears soaked the soil and the fields came back to life.

Children were involved in making Nuri dolls from a broom or wood and crowned her with a wreath decorated with flowers. Nuri was beautiful, flowery, and merciful. She had long hair and big almond shaped eyes, from where the tears flowed. Her clothes were bright and her belt was woven with seven colors of the rainbow.

Early Palm Sunday morning, groups of girls danced and sang with their Nuri dolls, going from house to house. People sprayed water on the dolls through the windows and doors and gave them eggs, bread, or cheese for the children to have a celebration. If by chance, it rained, the children rejoiced that Nuri heard their prayers and gave them rain.

I’ve heard that as Americans fondly name their dogs as Spot, Armenian girls named their most beloved dolls as Nuri.

The Nuri dolls pictured here were handmade in Armenia and recently traveled across the ocean to join my collection of dolls. Many thanks to Susana Der Kosrofian who shopped the outdoor bazaars and doll stores in Yerevan to escort several dolls home to me, including a special Nuri doll. Also, thanks to Gayane Khachatryan and the women of Talin Dolls for custom-designing a special Nuri doll.

Wishing you a blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter.

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