|Vardavar in center of Yerevan|
You probably know that Armenians are the first nation in the world that adopted Christianity as an official religion (301). Thus Armenians have a number of religious holidays that they celebrate all year round. Some are not that popular and few people know about them, others are celebrated nationwide, such as Easter and Christmas. And there are some holidays that belong to the “must-experience” group of holidays. The most popular one among them is Vardavar, when people pour water on each other.
The holiday, though celebrated till today, dates back to the Pagan times. It was dedicated to Astghik, the goddess of beauty, love and fertility. Armenians presented her with roses, and this is where the name Vardavar comes from (“vard (վարդ)” = “rose”). Today the holiday is celebrated in summer – 14 weeks after Easter.
The mood and the atmosphere of the day is unexplainable. One should, or rather, must experience the fun and joy that the holiday offers. The funny thing is that there are no rules for the game. And everyone has the right to pour water on anybody, even if the latter did not agree to be one of the victims. Passers-by (especially well-dressed girls with nicely done hair) are the main target. Some take it easy, others get crazy, but what can be done. Nothing. There are no exceptions to the rule. That is why most people cancel all their meetings, classes on that day and try to stay at home.
In my family Vardavar starts right in the morning, when my mom wakes us up by pouring a cup of cold water on us J . Then the “celebration” continues in the house, until someone realizes that the house is wet enough and suggests continuing the game outdoors.
In the evening when the hot weather gives in, the celebrations stop and people start to get out of their “hiding places.”