On Sunday, the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia is organizing the second educational and cultural “Vardavar International Festival” at the ancient sites of Geghard and Garni. The festival is organized with support of several organisations including the RA Ministry of Culture and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The program will include church ceremony, fascinating performances by folk dance and songs ensembles, traditional national games, thematic pavilions of Vardavar, representing traditions of different regions, ritual dishes and artworks. Moreover, the musical performance by various popular ensembles and actors will introduce to the whole world the essence of Vardavar in its own way.
Vardavar (or Vartavar) is one of few ancient Armenian festivals that have survived until present. Although now a Christian tradition, Vardavar’s history dates back to pagan times. The ancient festival is 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 “Vartavar” because Armenians offered her roses as a celebration (“vart” means “rose” and “var” mean “rise”), thus it was celebrated during the harvest time. On this day people of all ages drench each other with water and rose petals. 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.
“Taking into consideration our previous experience, more extensive activities will be carried out this time to promote the culture identification, the preservation of national-spiritual values among youth, ensuring the prosperity of sustainable tourism growth in Armenia and, finally, contributing to the development of Armenia-Diaspora partnership,” highlighted the President of the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia.