Vardavar- Armenia’s joyful celebration of getting wet
Although now a Christian tradition, celebrating the transfiguration of Jesus Christ (the Feast of the Transfiguration), 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” in Armenian and var means “to burn/be burning,” this is why it was celebrated in the harvest time). Some scholars claim it comes from a tradition dating back to Noah, in which he commanded that his descendants should sprinkle water on each other and let doves fly as a symbol of remembrance of the Flood.
During the day of Vardavar, people of various ages are allowed to douse strangers with water. It is common to see people pouring buckets of water from balconies on unsuspecting people walking below them. The festival is trendy among children as it is one day where they can get away with pulling pranks. It is also a refreshment on the usually hot and dry summer days of July or late June.