Armenians douse each other with water at summer festival

YEREVAN (REUTERS) - Residents of the Armenian capital Yerevan dashed to the streets with buckets and bottles of water as they celebrated Armenia's most joyful holiday - Vardavar water festival - on Sunday (July 23).

With summer temperatures at around 30 deg C, locals did not miss their chance to "attack" each other with buckets full of water or water hoses to get everyone drenched.

The festival traces back to pagan times in Armenia's history. It is associated with the water and fertility goddess Astghik.

Armenians used to offer roses (called "vard" in Armenian) to win her favour, and hence they called the day Vardavar.

Though Armenia adopted Christianity as a state religion as early as 301 AD, it maintained this festival throughout the centuries and celebrates it in churches, 98 days after Orthodox Easter.