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Vardavar festivity

Travel, Nature
Posted Fri Jul 09 2021
Updated Wed Aug 11 2021
With the gesture of sprinkling the water we want to imitate the gesture of the goddess who sprinkled rose water on the land of Armenia, filling it with love.

In Armenia there is a festivity, who is generally celebrated 98 days after easter, and during which people gather in the squares or organize raids in the villages to attack with water whoever they have in range. This holiday is called Vardavar, and although it is celebrated by a christian country, its roots are absolutely pagan and can be linked to the goddess Astghik, divinity of water, beauty, love and fertility.

This year I was lucky enough to spend it with a local family who, for the occasion, moved to a house in the village to celebrate it. It is a pleasant party, on the street you can see groups of boys secretly assaulting passers-by with buckets of water and then running away. The older ones participate happily, serving with pleasure as targets for the little ones.

With the gesture of sprinkling the water we want to imitate the gesture of the goddess who sprinkled rose water on the land of Armenia, filling it with love.

Near the village of Vardenik (click here if you want to know more) there is a small autonomous village at 2800 meters above sea level. Several families live here, others come here only on special occasions, as the houses are not equipped with the most usual comforts. And this is where we spent our Vardavar, among cows, horses, sheep, all free in an endless green space. The men cooked a roast of a unique flavor, which I will always remember. In a hole in the floor they insert the firewood, and on top they rest the various pots for cooking. It seemed like a wise family to me. The older men were very wise, the women happy. Around the picnic tablecloth we ate together various local specialties, yoghurt, homemade butter, lamb, sheep. Everything was very tasty, not like the flavors of the city, which are distorted. But full, empowered.

The meals were accompanied by rivers of Armenian Cognac (said to be the best in the world), and of course vodka.

In this village you can visit a very simple church, the roof of which is annually destroyed due to strong high altitude winds. Inside it is very bare, and the children hang their drawings dedicated to the christian cult. The figure of the Christ is obviously everywhere, even planted in the sand where the candles are. There is very little light inside. And a constant buzz of flies that occasionally can be seen among the beams of light coming from the holes in the wall.

Between one meal and another some of them guided me to collect nettles, because I like them very much and I consider them almost magical. In this regard, one of the oldest told me how useful it is to whip your body with bunches of nettle, to facilitate the infusion of blood (additionally, nettle contains more vitamin C than oranges.). I absolutely loved the idea.

The same man then, recalling the war, underlined how it is more legitimate and true to fight a man with one's fists, rather than with weapons, which are for the cowards. And while he said it, he simulated the actions of a boxer with white hair and a mustache.