- What kind of holiday traditions did you celebrate in your family?
I remember one thing called “Vardavar,” it’s 98 days after Easter celebrating the transfiguration of Christ.
- Where do you celebrate this?
I used to celebrate this as a child when I lived Aleppo, Syria.
- What does Vardavar entail?
It was a festival where people would gather with buckets and small bowls filled with water to pour water on each other. You would pour water on family and friends and even on strangers. Everyone knew on that day, that you would expect to get wet.
- What did the water signify/ What’s the origin of this festival?
I believe it began as a pagan festival worshiping the goddess Astghik, the goddess of water, beauty love and fertility. The name Vardavar comes from the Armenian tradition to give up roses as an offering to Astghik. The word vart means rose.
- What is the transfiguration?
The transfiguration is when Christ became radiant in glory. It refers to the experience of momentary divine radiance.
It’s an interesting idea that this ceremony is celebrated by splashing water on each other. I feel like the splashing water is similar to drowning, which is the opposite of fertility, however water is also cleansing and healing.