Armenians celebrate national holiday Vardavar

Armenians are celebrating Vardavar – one of few ancient Armenian festivals that has survived until present. This day falls on the 98th day after Easter.

Although now a Christian tradition, Vardavar’s history dates back to pagan times. The ancient festival is traditionally associated with the goddess Astghik, who was the goddess of water, beauty, love and fertility. The festivities associated with this religious observance of Astghik were named “Vartavar” because Armenians offered her roses as a celebration (“vart” means “rose” and “var” mean “rise”), thus it was celebrated during the harvest time. On this day people of all ages drench each other with water and rose petals. It is common to see people pouring buckets of water from balconies on unsuspecting people walking below them.

After the adoption of Christianity the holiday had some changes and nowadays it is being celebrated as a holiday dedicated to Christ’s transfiguration.