Today, July 27, Armenia is celebrating Vardavar, one of the Armenian national-religious holidays, reborn with Christian faith, which has its deep roots in pagan era.
In the Armenian Church, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated 98 days following Easter.
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the five main “Tabernacle” feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church. It commemorates the transformation or the “transfiguration” that came over Jesus while He was praying.
In the pagan era this holiday was 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 “Vardavar” because Armenians offered her roses as a celebration (“vard” means “rose” in and “var” mean “rise”), this is why it was celebrated in the harvest time.
After the adoption of Christianity Armenian church revived this holiday, deeply loved by people. And the renewed holiday began to symbolize Christ’s transfiguration or brilliance when on Mount Tabor Christ appeared in divine light before three of his disciples: Peter, Jacob, John and prophets Elijah and Moses.
During the day of Vardavar, people from a wide array of 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 very popular among children as it is one day where they can get away with pulling pranks. It is also a means of refreshment on the usually hot and dry summer days of July.