The Grand Armenian Festival – Prpoor! is a 1-day annual harvest festival centered around an eight hundred year old Armenian tradition, which may be closely likened to the celebration of Thanksgiving by North Americans. The festival is run by The Armenian Cultural Foundation of Fresno and all proceeds from the festival are used to fund the various programs offered and towards the maintenance of The Armenian Community Center located at 2348 Ventura Ave. in Fresno’s Old Armenian Town.
What is Prpoor?
Prpoor is the Armenian term referring to the bubbling grape molasses which brews on the last day of the harvest of the grapes, a day which would start early in the fields and end back at the farms for a late night celebration that would rival no other!
The making of Prpoor is central to this traditional Armenian harvest festival. Typically farmers would gather grapes at dawn, then crush them in giant vats by foot. Once the grape juice was completely extracted, it would be poured into a giant vat and heated throughout the day, requiring constant attention and stirring with ancient ladles made with gourds (hollowed out and dried giant squash).
By the evening, the grape juice would form into molasses, and on it’s surface a sweet foam, prpoor, would form. This foam, which signified the completion of the molasses and the harvest, would be served to all on bay leaves as they ate, drank, danced, and chanted “PRPOOR!” in celebration of a successful harvest.
Prior to the launch of the festival in 2008, Armenians in the Central Valley upheld the tradition at private homes of various community members, but as word grew about this unique celebration, so did the requests to be a part of this very special tradition.
And so, under the leadership of The Armenian Cultural Foundation of Fresno, the Armenians of Fresno came together to launch The Grand Armenian Festival – Prpoor!, a festival open to all.