Rose-Water (Gulãb) Festival
Springtime provides an extraordinary picture of Iran for those who are interested in visiting this four season country. Thanks to nature reborn, a spectaculous traditional festival also takes place during early May to late June in few provinces, called Rose-Water Festival. Being historically well-known for growing Damuscus roses, Kashan and Meymand are the most famous cities for this festival every year in the country. Local people pick up roses, collect them and distill the flowers in huge pots, although a part of this process is being held within the factory today. Many tourists pay a visit to this flora ceremony each year during May and June. What makes rose-water distillation even more amazing, is that the flowers grow in a desert-like climate which adds a wonderful scenery to the delicate fragrance of roses. The ceremony has such a long history in Iran that even Hafiz (the most famous Persian poet, 14th century) points out to it:
In the matter of rose-water and of the rose
The decree of eternity without beginning was this:
That that (the rose) should be the lovely one of the bazar (the harlot)
And that this (the rose water) should be the sitter behind the veil (the chaste one)
Even though Iran exports rose-water worldwide, less people know about its Persian origin. There are various kinds of this production of which Gulãb Du Ătashah is the purest. Rose-water has also been using in beauty products including perfume and in traditional therapy as it is anti-stress and anti-insomnia.
So, if you intend to travel to Iran during spring, make sure not to miss this striking ceremony whether in Kashan, Isfahan Province or Meymand, Fars Province.
Rose-water festival in Iran:
Almost a thousand years ago, the prominent Iranian scientist, Avicenna, has emphasized the use of dry herbs and distillates such as rose-water in many of his book chapters. Rose-water (Gulab) is taken from a flower named Damask Rose, which is a kind of rose and has been planted in ancient times in Iran. But since its extract has been exported from Damascus to Europe, it is also called by this name. It is used to treat many diseases, including coughing, stomach pain, digestive problems, and also contains a variety of vitamins and antioxidant.
Rose-water festival is one of the most popular Iranian festivals, and there are a lot of people going to visit it every year. The rose-water making is done in 14 provinces of Iran from early May to late June. The Botanical Gardens of Tehran, Dodangeh in Mazandaran, Bardsir in Kerman, Damghan in Semnan, Meymand and Lay zangan of Fars, Abyaneh, Barzok, Niasar and Qamsaar in Kashan are among the areas where the rose-water making is being done. The rose-water is obtained from the distillation of the Damask Rose. During the ceremony, bees and insects bite, and the smell of flowers and pollens that may cause allergic should be considered. Rose-water has many uses. The Kaaba, the holiest place for Muslims in Meccca, is purified every year with the Qamsar rose-water. It is also used in perfumery and cosmetics industry as well as flavor in Persian desserts and sweets.
The other ceremony in these days is “Gol Qaltan”. In some areas such as Damghan and Kashan, if the baby’s birth is in conjunction with the spring and the growth of The Damask Rose, the baby will be put in a white cloth and the flowers will be doubled over him, and four of the women’s family will be rolled the baby with singing and praying. Mozhdeh
Rose bath for babies (Golghaltan) is a national ceremony that takes place in different cities in Iran, which are famous for their damask rose, like Kashan city in Esfahan province and Damghan, a county located on the Iran plateau, in Semnan province, a 7000 years old city(4,000 BCE) located in 342 Km east of Tehran.
Golghaltan ceremony is originated in Damghan since hundred years ago. Back in then the ceremony was held in the city’s public bath.
In the first spring of a child’s life, his mother, grandmother and aunts pick lots of fresh and scented roses from gardens and fill a white linen with them and lay the baby down in it, holding sides of the cloth, swinging it and singing local songs in praise of Prophet Mohammad, wishing good health and fortune for the baby. In Iran, the flower is called Mohammadi rose, since Prophet Mohammad used to apply rose water for its health-care benefits
They believe that rolling baby in flowers prevents disease and brings freshness and happiness.
What to visit in Damghan
- Chehel Dokhtar tower
- Tarikhune mosque, an 8th century monument.
- Cheshmeh Ali garden