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 “Vardavar” because Armenians offered her roses as a celebration (vard means "rose" in Armenian and var means "to burn/be burning", this is why it was celebrated in the harvest time). After the Christianization of Armenia, the Armenian Apostolic Church identified the rose with the transfiguration of Jesus and Vardavar continued to be celebrated along with the Feast of the Transfiguration. Some claim it comes from a tradition dating back to Noah, in which he commanded that his descendants should sprinkle water on each other and let doves fly as a symbol of remembrance of the Flood.
The historian of ancient religions Albert de Jong explains that the water rite of Vardavar bears strong resemblance to a similar rite of the Iranian Zoroastrians of Yazd as part of the festival of Tir-o-Tištar.
Vardavar is generally celebrated 98 days (14 weeks) after Easter in the republic and the diaspora when the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration. In some regions, however, it is held on different days, and traditions differ too.
During the day of Vardavar, people from a wide array of ages are allowed to douse strangers with water. 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 or late June.
Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia (FYCA) each year organizes the "Vardavar International Festival" which is cognitive, educational, cultural festival. Every year it takes place in medieval monastery of Geghard and old pagan temple of Garni. The festival aims to present the Armenian national and traditional culture.
In addition to the celebrations, the traditional ceremony of splashing water on each other and the blessings of the youth, the Armenian folk songs are also included and performed by the Nairyan Vocal Ensamble. The Vardavar holiday theme pavilions represent the traditions and handmade works of different regions of Armenia.
- "Hemşinlilerin 'Vartevor'u". Agos (in Turkish). Retrieved 2020-10-19.
- Marty Crump, Bronwyn McIvor (2018). A Year with Nature: An Almanac. University of Chicago Press. p. 215. ISBN 9780226449845.
- St. John Armenian Church, https://www.stjohnarmenianchurch.org/feast-of-the-transfiguration/
- Very Rev. Fr. Vahan Ter-Minasyan (1904). Unwritten scripts and old customs (in Armenian). p. 145.
- De Jong, Albert (2015). "Armenian and Georgian Zoroastrianism". In Stausberg, Michael; Vevaina, Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw; Tessmann, Anna (eds.). The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. John Wiley And Sons Ltd. pp. 124–125.
- VARDAVAR INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL - FOUR YEARS IN A ROW
- Limited, Alamy. "Moscow, Russia - 11 July 2021: people celebrate Vardavar holiday near The Armenian temple complex at Trifonovskaya Street in Moscow city. It is the re Stock Photo - Alamy". www.alamy.com. Retrieved 2021-12-18.