Spending Vardavar in Haiastan – U. Ani Sarajian

Do you love being drenched from head to toe all day? Is being thrown in Swan Lake or the Hrabarag fountain one of your favorite pastimes? If so, Vardavar is the holiday for you. On July 27, no one is safe from being doused in water because on this one day out of the year, Yerevan turns into a citywide, all-day-long water fight. I had always heard about Vardavar or had modified versions at Camp Haiastan, but nothing could have ever prepared me for the chaos I was about to witness.

Not quite sure how to “Vardavar,” we started off by just walking down our street towards Hrabarag for some lunch. We quickly learned that there are no rules to Vardavar; you will be soaked in a matter of minutes, and your chances of staying dry for more than three seconds are slim to none. After getting chased down our street by a group of teenage boys, we learned you have to drench someone before they get to you first. Scavenging the streets, we sprayed people as we walked by and in turn we got sprayed back, but that was the fun part. No one was upset that day; everyone was happy and in a good mood. Everyone was running around, children and adults alike with huge grins across their faces as they took turns tossing water all over each other.

When we got to the Hrabarag fountain all you could see were people splashing around in it, splashing each other, or trying to get others in there with them. At Swan Lake, however, this was not the case. Walking up to Swan Lake, I was nowhere near prepared for what my eyes saw. A huge fire truck spewing water on top of people as they romp through the fountain, dancing to music, laughing with each other, and enjoying every minute of what they were experiencing. Also, here’s a hint: You’re better off in the fountain than standing on the outside of it. Why, you ask? Well because people don’t care if they don’t know you, boys were running around picking girls up in their arms and tossing them in. I found myself with my friend, Araik, dancing our hearts out to the music blaring from the speakers. It was pure chaos in the city that day to say the least, but it also provided pure bliss to everyone. You didn’t see anyone angry, upset, or frustrated; everyone just was laughing and dancing as they poured water all over one another. Would I do it again? Absolutely, it created one of the best memories for me in Armenia and when I come back, I will definitely make sure to be here during Vardavar.

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