Vardavar: Armenian Water Festival

Vardavar is one of the Armenian national-religious holidays, reborn with Christian faith, which has its deep roots in pagan era. It is celebrated on the 14th Sunday after Easter celebration during the period from 28 June to 1 October. This year we celebrate this great water festival on July 12.
In the pagan era this holiday was associated with Goddess of love named Astghik. According to tradition Astghik presented roses and sprayed rosewater spreading love in Armenian land, and her beloved God, Vahagn, protected and preserved their love.
And the name of the holiday – Vardavar derives from this legend. According to another tradition Noah, descending from the ark which had landed on Mount Ararat after the flood, orders his sons to spray water at each other in the memory of the flood.
After the adoption of Christianity Armenian church revived this holiday, deeply loved by people. And the renewed holiday began to symbolize Christ’s transfiguration or brilliance when on Mount Tabor Christ appeared in divine light before three of his disciples: Peter, Jacob, John and prophets Elijah and Moses.
Besides the religious rituals, the holiday enjoys great popularity and it is celebrated according to the ancient traditions. Early in the morning everybody; both adults and children, familiar or unfamiliar people come out to the yard and spray each other with great amount of water. Thus, they remember the tradition of presenting roses and spraying water by Goddess Astghik. This holiday is not only a perfect way of being refreshed on a hot summer day but also it changes into a real holiday of water and entertainment when all around you can see many children in wet cloths but in good mood and happy. Besides, water of Vardavar considers to be healing, and everybody should get at least several drops of water during spraying each other.
It is also traditional to fly doves. The holiday has been celebrated more solemnly in villages where the merry songs and dances, various games and jocks are the inseparable part of the holiday. So, welcome to Armenia where the celebration of Vardavar will delight you and the impression of the holiday will accompany you even after leaving Armenia.