Vardavar celebrated by Armenians
The Armenian festival of Vardavar that dates back five millennia was celebrated on Sunday by Armenians across the world.
Vardavar is celebrated in the Armenian homelands and the diaspora 14 weeks after Easter, when the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration.
The ancient festival is traditionally associated with the goddess Astghik, who was the goddess of water, beauty, love, and fertility, while some claim it comes from a tradition dating back to Noah.
The festivities are believed to have been named “Vardavar” because Armenians offered Astghik roses as a celebration (Armenian word "vard" means "rose" and "var" means "burning"). After Christianity, the Armenian Apostolic Church identified the rose with the transfiguration of Jesus and Vardavar continued to be celebrated along with the Feast of the Transfiguration.
People from all ages drench each other and strangers with water during the festival and it is quite common even to see people pouring buckets of water from balconies on unsuspecting people passing below.
The festival was celebrated today also in Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakir, where people after a service in the Armenian Church of Surp Giragos doused one another.
Dara Gunal, who was in the congregation, told Tigris Haber that "it would be difficult to come across even a single person who has been left dry in the entire Armenia during the day of Vardavar."