PASADENA — “Armenian Melodies” has won the “Grand Marshal” award for Most Outstanding Creative Concept and Float Design in the 135th Tournament of Roses, which took place in Pasadena on Monday, January 1, 2024.

Inspired by the strength of Armenian matriarchs throughout history, “Armenian Melodies” features dynamic Armenian mother and daughter figures dressed in vibrant, traditional garb, surrounded by important symbols within Armenian heritage and culture. This concept ties in perfectly with the 135th Tournament of Roses theme, “Celebrating a World of Music.” “Armenian Melodies” showcases several musical instruments that are endemic to Armenia.

In its sixth year of participation in the Tournament of Roses, AARFA’s “Armenian Melodies” captures the heroism of Armenian mothers, exemplifying determination, resilience, and fortitude in the face of centuries of upheaval. Through their steadfast support, Armenian mothers inspire their families and communities to persevere, even in turbulent times.

Armenian birds play a significant role on the float, with the crane, chukar, and little ringed plover, which are indigenous to the Armenian Highlands, nestled around the mother and daughter, adding depth and character to the rich tableau. Armenian instruments also feature prominently in “Armenian Melodies,” as the name suggests. Traditional wind instruments native to Armenia, including the duduk, shvi, blul, and parkapzuk, adorn the float, while percussion instruments such as the dhol and nagara round out the floral orchestra, adding to the spirited tapestry.

Enhancing the float’s colorful and meaningful scene, symbolic objects are scattered throughout. In addition to AARFA’s tricolor Armenian logo, a bushel of pomegranates, representing good fortune and abundance, perches alongside the mother and daughter. Apricots, deeply rooted in Armenian music and culture, can be found at the front of the float, along with the aforementioned duduk, which is crafted from apricot wood. Intricate and historic Armenian patterns are highlighted on the mother’s dress, while the “arevakhatch” or sun cross, symbolizing eternal life, completes the design of “Armenian Melodies.”

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