Today I want to talk about the ancient Armenian holiday Vardavar. Vardavar literally translates as follows: vard (arm. վարդ) is a rose, and var (arm.վառ) is bright, but together it is translated as “rivers of roses”.

Initially, the holiday was pagan in Great Armenia at the beginning of the 4th century. In those days, the Armenians bowed to the fire and once a year they performed “baptisms” and “blessings” of each other, and fiery-red roses were the symbol of this event. It was not decent not to accept or give roses.

Now the people also call Vardavar Jrotsi (arm. Ջրոցի ), which literally means “watering”

Times passed and the Armenian people adopted Christianity in the IV century – in 301 AD. But, like many other pagan holidays, Vardavar took root among the people, and the church, like all other pagan holidays, reformulated the message of the holiday and adapted it to Christianity.
In modern Armenia, Vardavar is considered to be a “mobile” near-religious holiday and is celebrated on the last Sunday of July every year. Instead of bright red roses, people pour water over each other, thereby blessing each other. Why water? It carries the symbol of baptism, like the baptism of Jesus Christ at Bethabara, on the east bank of the Jordan River.


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