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Armenian Legends and Poems

One of the most famous Armenian goddesses was Anahit, who answered to the Greek Artemis and the Roman Diana. She was a ” pure and spotless goddess,” and, as a daughter of Aramazd, was “mother of chastity,” as well as the benefactress of the whole human race; “through her the Armenian land exists, from her it draws its life; she is the glory of our nation and its protectress” ; and for her the ancient Armenians felt intense love and adoration.

Many images and shrines were dedicated to her under the names of “the Golden Mother,” “the Being of Golden Birth,” etc. Every summer there was a festival in her honour. On that day, a dove and a rose were offered to her golden image, whence the day was called Vardavar, which means “the flaming of the Rose.”

On the introduction of Christianity, the temple of Anahit was destroyed and her festival became the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ; it falls in the last days of the year according to the ancient Armenian calendar; but the name “Vardavar” still remains and doves are still set flying on that day. This is also the Armenian “water-day,” during which the people amuse themselves throwing water at each other.

Anahit was sought also in cases of great sickness

Armenian Legends and Poems

by Zabelle C. Boyajian

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