July 7, 2013 - 15:34 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia is celebrating Vardavar, one of the nation’s favorite holidays.
In the Armenian Church, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated 98 days following Easter.
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the five main “Tabernacle” feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church. It commemorates the transformation or the “transfiguration” that came over Jesus while He was praying. Christ’s face shone like the sun and his clothes became a radiant and gleaming white. The Apostles Peter, James and John witnessed that event which occurred on a high mountain named Tabor.
In the Armenian Church, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated 98 days following Easter. Although now a Christian tradition, 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 “Vartavar” because Armenians offered her roses as a celebration (“vart” means “rose” in and "var" mean "rise"), this is why it was celebrated in the harvest time.
According to the legend, the Armenian “showering roses” goddess of love and beauty sowed the seeds of love in all the Armenian country, and her beloved fearless Vahagn guarded the seeds from the forces of evil. That is why pilgrims always place bouquets of roses on a sacred place on the feast day and sacrificed in Astghik’s temple.
The holiday is related to the Great Flood, as well. In memory of the flood Noah, who found his refuge on Mt. Ararat, ordered his sons to pour water on each other. Thus water and roses became symbols of the national feast.
The Monday following the Feast is a Memorial Day.