Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Navasard – August 11

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 13, 2014


For dozens of centuries Armenians had been celebrating the New Year, Navasard, on August 11. Once a favorite popular holiday, it now became a topic of historians’ remarks or Armenian folklore only.

“August 11 is the first day of the new year according to the ancient Armenian calendar. It was celebrated by all – the rich and the poor,” said ethnographer Gohar Vardumyan, senior fellow at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

Navasard was dedicated to 7 Armenian pagan gods: Aramazd (the Supreme Armenian God, the Father of all Gods and Goddess), Anahit (the Supreme Goddess), Astghik (the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Water), Nane (the Goddess of War), Vahagn (the God of Thunder and Lightning), Mihr (the God of Sun and Heaven Light) and Tir (the God of Wisdom, Science and Studies).

“According to the mythology, on this day the Gods came down to the Earth to bathe in the sacred River of Aratsani and then watched people celebrating the holiday. People had to please the Gods and scarified grain and blood of domestic animals. It was also the feast of love,” Vardumyan said. “Besides, August 11 was marked in Armenia as the day when Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat,” she added.

According to historian Ghevond Alishan (1820-1901), August 11, 2492 was another remarkable date for Armenia. In the Battle of Dyutsaznamart, the founder of Haykazuni Dynasty Hayk Nahapet killed Bel, the Assyrian Tyrant.

“All these events transformed in a real national festivity, which had been one of the most popular holidays before Gregorian calendar took effect. First, the calendar was applied by Catholic Armenians in Venice and then in Poland and Russia. It reached Armenia in the 18th century. As to January 1, Armenians started celebrating the New Year on this day after establishment of the soviet rule,” Vardumyan said.

She voiced regret that the residents of Armenian villages, who still celebrate ancient holidays, do not mark Navasard any longer. “We celebrate our pagan holidays like Easter and Vardavar as church holidays of Resurrection and Transfiguration of Jesus Christ.

The Armenian Church annually issues calendars with description of these holidays, starting with their pagan origin. Unfortunately, Navasard is not among them. The Church explains the decision by the fact that Hayk Nahapet was not a Christian,” Vardumyan said.

Armenians do not celebrate Navasard as national holiday because Hayk Nahapet was not Christian

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