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Vardevar, A Fun Festival in Armenia

Sweet Surrender

Wet, wet, wet! No we are not talking about the popular band, it's the weather forecast in Yerevan for July 7 2013. How can one tell so far in advance? Simple answer, this is the day the small nation of Armenia marks a unique and fun festival Vardevar (or sometimes pronounced Vardavar).

Although a Christian nation, Armenia is keen on preserving age-old traditions, be it with pagan origins. One of the most interesting of such festivals is Vardevar. Although this festival is celebrated all around the country, and indeed in Yerevan too, one of the unique places to observe it is near the only pagan temple still standing in Armenia, Garni. The Temple's origin dates back to pre Christian times but was rebuilt in the 1600's after an earthquake destroyed it. One can really feel the atmosphere of an ancient celebration in this location.

So what is it all about? In a nutshell it's a day of fun where people of all ages douse strangers with water. You will see people with hoses and buckets in the streets pouring water on each other. Water is splashed into cars with their windows down and out from balconies drenching unsuspecting passersby below! If you are on the streets there is no escaping the water. It might seem a little chaotic for foreigners and tourists, but the best advice is to embrace the fun!

On that day, water is considered to be curative and powerful. Moreover, summers in Armenia usually are very hot and since Vardevar is celebrated in July, it's a perfect way to cool down! There are no strict rules of celebration of Vardevar, usually it varies from family to family. In some of the regions of Armenia people usually gather around a table and celebrate this day singing traditional songs, dancing and having tasty Armenian food.

In pre-Christian times, the ancient festival was associated with the Astghik the goddess of water, fertility, love and beauty. Traditionally it is believed, that Armenians were offering the goddess Astghik roses in the name of celebration (vard rose, var - rise).

So if you are planning a trip to Armenia this is your chance to join in the fun. Varedevar is considered to be one of the happiest days in Armenia, since people are interacting with total strangers, they make each other laugh and only during this day children (and adults!) are officially allowed to misbehave. So if you are planning a trip to Armenia, this is your chance to join in the fun! A "Sweet Surrender" (thanks to Wet Wet Wet :)) is required to fully enjoy the beauty of the festival so grab a bucket and join the locals! It's Vardevar!

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