This year Armenia is celebrating Vardavar, one of the nation’s favorite holidays, on Sunday, July 27.
Vardavar is 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. Christ’s face shone like the sun and his clothes became a radiant and gleaming white. The Apostles Peter, James and John witnessed that event which occurred on a high mountain named Tabor.
In the pagan era this holiday was associated with the name of 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 and “var” mean “rise”), this is why it was celebrated in the harvest time.
According to the legend, the Armenian “showering roses” goddess of love and beauty sowed the seeds of love in all the Armenian country, and her beloved fearless Vahagn guarded the seeds from the forces of evil.
According to another tradition Noah, descending from the ark which had landed on Mount Ararat after the flood, orders his sons to spray water at each other in the memory of the flood.
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. Besides the religious rituals, the holiday enjoys great popularity and is celebrated according to the ancient traditions.