If you are a foreigner and you are planning to visit Armenia in summer then be ready for the situation when you walk along the street and a group of children or teenagers run to you and pour pails of water over you. This is the festival of Vardavar.
Yes, it may sound weird if you don’t know the meaning of this tradition.
So, where does it come from? Why do Armenians call it Vardavar and how they celebrate? All the answers are below.
Vardavar’s history dates back to the pagan times. Armenians believed in many gods before adopting Christianity. Astghik was the goddess of water, beauty, love, and fertility. The celebrations of the religious observance of Astghik people named “Vartavar”. In Armenian vart (vard) means “rose” and var means “rise”. Astghik was pouring roses over the people spreading the love.
Though Armenians adopted Christianity they kept the tradition associating it with Jesus Christ. They celebrate it now as a holiday devoted to the event of Jesus Christ’s transfiguration when he appeared to his disciples on the Mount Tabor.
Some specialists relate the Vardavar to the Flood and Noah’s descent from the Ark. According to the tradition, when Noah finds his refuge on Mount Ararat during the Flood, he orders his sons to pour water over each other for the memory of the Flood.
In ancient times people were gathering the wheat-ears in the fields and took them to the church for a blessing to keep the fields away from damages.
The most important traditions of Vardavar was the ceremony of making doves fly. They were flying in the sky and admiring people.