NavasardWednesday, August 11, 2021
Navasard, the Armenian calendar's first month. The Navasard month has had 30 days which started on 11 August and ended on 9 September. For ancient Armenians, the first day of Navasard (11 August) has been a social gatherings, festivals and celebrations day throughout history.
The Navasardian god in Armenian mythology was considered the protector of the crops and the feeder of the hungry. His statue is currently standing in Bagavan, which is today considered a sanctuary to Pagans.
General history of the first month
The first month of the year was considered the modern August and was called Navasard by Armenians. Likewise start-of-year positions affected economic and cultural capitals adding difficulties to certain trading deals, especially ones done in wintertime. Therefore, after the end of the century XVI (approximately around 1582), it was internationally decided to consider January as the first month of a year, considered as the Gregorian calendar.
The Gregorian calendar was introduced to the people by the pope of the time Gregory XIII.
Even though this decision was made internationally, traditional and old calendars are still being used in countries in the Middle and Near Easts (Iran, Afghanistan, other Arab countries).
The word Navasard is composed of "nav" meaning new and "sard" meaning year in Armenian, directly translating it to "New Year". It was later adopted to Parthian-Persian known as “Nawruz”.
Navasard month was also considered the last month of summer and was referred to as the "introduction of the golden autumn". Throughout the Navasardian days; the Armenian lands would reach to a prosperity peak, especially the grapefruits, pears, peaches and watermelons.
Armenian scholar Mardiros Ananikian emphasizes the identical nature of Newroz and the Armenian traditional New Year, Navasard, noting that it was only in the 11th century that Navasard came to be celebrated in late summer rather than in early spring. He states that the Newroz - Navasard “was an agricultural celebration connected with commemoration of the dead […] and aiming at the increase of the rain and the harvests.” The great center of Armenian Navasard, Ananikian points out, was Bagavan, the center of fire worship.
The Navasardian festivals were considered the biggest celebrations of the year. The celebrations used to start from the start of the Navasard month and lasted a week.
Armenian families used to serve their best feasts during lunch and suppertime, having very big numbers of dining guests ranging from family to friends. They also hung stockings on their doors and impatiently expected drops of gifts put in them, as a tradition nowadays done too.
The representative Armenian Gods of the Navasardian celebrations are the Astghik, Vahagn and Anahit gods.
On the day of the ceremonies, the region of Bagavan would be decorated in many colorful decorations, the king would be present as well as a big part of the army, up to 120,000 in number.
According to ancient book descriptions, colorful tents set up on the shore of Murat are seen, the golden tent would always be the king's, the most beautiful of the tents usually belonged to the elite of the nation. Most of the people spent their times under big trees' shadows to hide away from the sun while they watched the celebrations and performances.
Throughout the day, doves and deer would be sacrificed in the name of the gods. Usually the horns of the deer were painted colorfully. There also was set up a big bonfire at nighttime where kids and young adults would try to jump over and around it to scare and drive away bad spirits. The celebrating people would bring their first set of harvest of the year to share with others.
Horseback riding races were done, as well as deer racing. The let go hundreds of doves into the air for good luck. Dancing, singing, intellectual and athletic competitive games were a big part of the celebrations, where competitors would try to impress the ones they admire in the audience.
In Ashtishat, games similar to the current well-known Olympic games were organized to choose the best athlete in a bundle of performed games.
While the athletes competed, poets and instrumentalists merged and performed their own music and lyrics, as well as painters drew the event in various methods, accordingly to their point of view. A water festival, referred to as Vardavar, also takes place, where everyone drenched each other with water using different types of containers a bucket. The Vardavar festival is still done every year all over Armenia.