Vardavar water festival presents different games, dances, songs, and of course pouring water on each other. People of all ages take part in this expected holiday, and no one has a chance to escape and stay dry in the streets of Yerevan during this day. However, in the July heat such a holiday of water is exactly what you need. So, if someone pour water on you, do not be offended, because it is much more interesting to pour water in a pail or a mug and become a participant in Vardavar yourself!
History of celebration of the Vardavar water festival
The history of Vardavar water festival dates back to pagan times. The ancient festival is traditionally associated with the goddess Astghik, who was the representative of water, beauty, love and fertility. Roses symbolized the goddess Astghik. Literally “Vard” means “Rose” in Armenian;
hence, the name of the festival is Vardavar. Later, with the adoption of Christianity, water festival was timed to the day of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, and the ancient tradition of pouring water began to symbolize the purification from sins and healing.
When and where is the festival?
Vardavar water festival is celebrated on the 14th Sunday after Easter, as a rule, it falls on July, that is, on the hottest days of summer. In 2023, water festival will be held on July 19th. Vardavar is celebrated everywhere in Armenia, in large cities, in districts, and even in small towns and villages.
Of course, the largest celebrations take place in the capital of the country, Yerevan. Here hundreds of people gather in the “epicenter” of universal fun – Swan Lake, located in the heart of the city, and even watering machines and firefighting trucks take part in the “water procedures”.
How to celebrate Vardavar in regions of Armenia?
The main traditions of Vardavar are quite similar and celebrated in different regions of Armenia. The liturgy dedicated to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is held in churches throughout Yerevan and the country in the morning, also 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 some regions, which symbolizes another facet of the “holiday of water” – the connection with the end of the worldwide flood, which also resembles a general dousing. Special theatre performances, representing national games, songs, dances, as well as the rich cultural heritage of pre-Christian Armenia, are organized on Vardavar day in Yerevan and in some regions.