The wettest holiday ever - Vardavar in Armenia

Lusine Vardanyan | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The funniest, the coolest and the wettest holiday in Armenia is Vardavar. This holiday or better to say water festival is celebrated every year in July in all the provinces, big and small cities and villages of Armenia. It is the most liked and most expected day of the year, both for kids and adults, and should you be in Armenia on that day, you will have a lot of fun. The thing is that on Vardavar people drench the water on each other, and it really does not matter whether you know them or not. There is no chance one goes out and gets back home in the dry clothes.

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On that day, the water is everywhere… people pull water from the rooftops, their balconies, on the streets, on the buses, in the metro. It is better to avoid taking with you the mobile phones or any other electronic devices, as nobody really cares what you have in your bag. Yes, it sounds crazy, and it really is!

In Yerevan, "the most dangerous" parts on that day are the central streets of the city where, for example, you can absolutely accidentally be dropped into the Swan Lake or into the pool of the main fountains of Republic Square. On that day, there are no differences between kids and adults, girls and boys, people who are on duty and people who are on holiday. It is just a big fun for everyone!

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So where does this holiday come from and why is it celebrated throughout the country?

In Armenia, this holiday was celebrated since the pagan times. It is associated with the Goddess of water, beauty, love, and fertility - Astghik. ‘’Vard” in Armenian is ‘’rose” and “var” means “rise”. That’s where the origin of the word Vardavar comes from. They also say, that is the reason why it is celebrated during the harvest. During the festive ceremonies dedicated to Astghik, people used to sprinkle each other with some rose water to replicate Astghik’s bathing in roses.

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Legend has it: Pagan God Vahagn, who was Astghik’s lover, was injured in the battle with a devil. While running to rescue Vahagn, Astghik hurt her feet stepping on the roses, and her blood made the roses red, and that’s why the red roses became the flowers symbolizing the love. Since then, during the pilgrimage to praise her, people sing the songs, and offer her the red roses.

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This year Vardavar was celebrated on 7th of July and for the coming years on the following dates: 2018-07-08, 2019-07-28, 2020-07-19, 2021-07-11, 2022-07-24, 2023-07-16, 2024-07-07, 2025-07-27, 2026-07-12, 2027-07-04, 2028-07-23, 2029-07-08, 2030-07-28. If you happen to be in Armenia on any of these days, you will get a chance to participate in the wettest festival ever and to take with you the unforgettable memories and emotions.

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