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Wedding in the Village By Shushan Avagyan Noon - the hour of observance - a yellow frenzy spreading over the neighboring hills - zourna bellows wildly in a coarse duet with the dhol, as dancing arms and feet form tightly knotted circles of loud human carousels. Enters the bride, timidly hiding her face in a veil, white and translucent, then successively - the groom - young man with rosy cheeks holding a silver dagger in his hand - hooked to its point is a red flushing apple - the luscious fruit - a symbol for virginity of the nubile bride. This tradition, faithfully kept from generation to generation is the core of the dance, threading a contagious smile throughout the Urartian faces of the pagan crowds. Then, the trays of food, and smell of barbecued meat trailing into the streets - the feast is at its climax - wine and toasts spill everywhere - filling the air with a happy drunkenness. Everyone is talking, laughing, except for the bride - frightened and shy she sits quietly at the table - her eyes fixed to the ground. -- Shushan Avagyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia, attended the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus, and graduated from Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA, with a degree in Book Arts/Printmaking. She has translated many texts, including Vazken Azatian's third edition of "Armenia: A Guidebook", published in 1999. Shushan received the Second Poetry Prize at the Hildegard Festival of Women in the Arts 2003, and the First Prize at the 2002 Armenian Allied Arts Association's Literature Contest. She writes in Armenian and English, and also translates Armenian feminist literature. Copyright © 2003 Shushan Avagyan.