Armenia FESTIVAL MUST-SEE: VARDAVAR
With its origins in pagan times, the now-christian tradition of Vardavar stems from the worship of Astghik, the goddess of water, beauty, love and fertility. The festivities associated with this religious aspect of Astghik were dubbed “Vartavar” ( vart translates to “rose” in Armenian and var means “rise”), as legend has it that Astghik would pour water from roses to convey her love for the Armenian people. The celebration is traditionally held at harvest time. Today however, the festival is in honour of Jesus Christ, and his transfiguration when he appeared before his disciples on Mount Tabor. However, some also theorise that the tradition is to remember Noah and the flood.
Vardavar sees celebrants throw water at each other in the streets of Yerevan on the 14th Sunday after Easter – a welcome reprieve from the summer heat. People pour buckets of water from their balconies, and douse each other in the streets. The festival is a wonderful experience for children.