Vardavar or Vartavar (Վարդավառ) is an Armenian festival in Armenia where individuals of social groups soak each other with water.
Vardavar festival History
Albeit now a Christian tradition, celebrating the transfiguration of Jesus Christ (the Feast of the Transfiguration), Vardavar’s history goes back to pagan times.
The antiquated festival is traditionally connected with the goddess Astghik, who was the goddess of water, beauty, love, and fertility. Roses meant the goddess Astghik. The festivities related to this religious observance of Astghik were named “Vartavar” because Armenians offered her roses as a festival (vart signifies “rose” in Armenian and var signify “rise”), this is the reason it was praised in the harvest time.
Afterward, with the adoption of Christianity, the water festival was coordinated to the day of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, and the antiquated tradition of pouring water started to represent the purification from sins and healing.
When and where is the festival?
Vardavar water festival is praised on the 14th Sunday after Easter, generally speaking, it falls in July, that is, on the hottest days of summer. In 2020, the water festival will be held on July 19th. Vardavar is celebrated wherever in Armenia, in enormous urban areas, in regions, and even in small villages and towns.
The biggest festivals happen in the capital of the nation, Yerevan. Here many individuals accumulate in the “epicenter” of universal fun – Swan Lake, situated in the heart of the city, and in any event, watering machines and firefighting trucks partake in the “water procedures”.
How to celebrate Vardavar festival
During the day of Vardavar, individuals from a wide array of ages are permitted to splash strangers with water. It isn’t unexpected to see individuals pouring buckets of water from galleries on clueless individuals strolling beneath them. The celebration is well known among kids as it is one day where they can pull off pulling tricks. It is additionally a method for reward on the normally hot and dry summer days of July or late June.
Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia (FYCA) every year organizes the “Vardavar International Festival” which is an educational, cognitive, cultural celebration. Every year it happens in the medieval cloister of Geghard and old pagan temple of Garni. The festival plans to introduce Armenian national and traditional culture.
Notwithstanding the festivals, the traditional ceremony of sprinkling water on one another, and the blessings of the youth, the Armenian folk songs are likewise included and performed by the Nairyan Vocal Ensamble. The Vardavar holiday theme structures describe the traditions and handmade works of various regions of Armenia.
The main traditions of Vardavar are very comparative and celebrated in various areas of Armenia. The ceremony devoted to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is held in churches all through Yerevan and the nation toward the beginning of the day, likewise, the consecration of water and the blessing of fruits are held on this day (apple is one of the symbols of the holiday).
There is a custom to release pigeons in certain regions, which represents another feature of the “holiday of water” – the association with the finish of the worldwide flood, which additionally looks like a general splashing. Special theater performances, representing national games, songs, dances, as well as the rich cultural legacy of pre-Christian Armenia, are organized on Vardavar day in Yerevan and in certain areas.