Aramazd is the principal deity in Armenia's pre-Christian pantheon. He displaced Vanatur at the top of the pantheon after interaction with the Persians led to the Armenians' identifying the Zoroastrians' Ahura Mazda as their prime deity. Aramazd was considered the father of all gods and goddesses, the creator of heaven and earth. The first two letters in his name - AR - are the Indo-European root for sun, light, and life. He was the source of earth’s fertility, making it fruitful and bountiful. The celebration in his honor was called Amanor, or New Year, which was celebrated on March 21 in the old Armenian calendar (also the Spring equinox). Aramazd was a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Armenian legendary figure Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda. In the Hellinistic period Aramazd in Armenia was compared with Greek Zeus. The principal temple of Aramazd was in Ani (Kamakh in modern Turkey), a cultural and administrative center of ancient Armenia. The temple had been ruined at the end of the 3rd century AD, after the adoption of Christianity in Armenia as the state religion.
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