Rosewater festivals go virtual amid virus pandemic

April 25, 2020 - 20:0

TEHRAN – Every year, by late April, tens of festivals of rose and rosewater starts to take the center stage in the central Iranian city of Kashan along with other nearby townships and villages.

 This year, however, as the country is battling coronavirus outbreak, the festivals are available to visitors on social media.

The distillation ceremonies, which are commonly known as “Golab-giri”, usually attract thousands of people from different parts of the country and abroad to witness the iconic tradition of the region. 

While Kashan and its neighboring villages are covered with pink roses and the scent of the flowers spreads over the area, visitors can have a unique experience watching the process of making rosewater from harvesting to steaming rose petals.  

The festivals are usually running through mid-June in different areas of Kashan, such as Qamsar, Joshaqan Qali, Barzak and Niasar.

They are one of the main sources of income for workshop owners and rose garden owners as well as villagers, seasonal and local workers, and it seems they have a positive impact on the region’s economy.

Unfortunately, this year, due to coronavirus pandemic, many people have been damaged economically, workshops have been closed and distillation is being done without the presence of any visitors. 

Golab or rosewater is obtained from a particular kind of Rose, known as Mohammadi roses in Iran. Harvesting flowers seems to be the most important part of the process. They should be picked from dawn through morning very carefully. The petals are put into massive copper pots and boiled, and then the extracted water is kept in special bottles. The longest the distillation is, the better will be the quality of the rosewater.

Golab is used nationwide in diverse traditional dishes to flavor them or consumed as a religious perfume as well. The holy month of Ramadan, which started yesterday, is one of the bestselling months of the product. 

However, Kashan’s Golab products couldn’t be distributed across the country properly as the government limited travel between Iranian cities until early last week in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Narratives say that rose oil and rosewater have many therapeutic benefits. Rose oil soothes the mind and heals depression, grief, nervous stress and tension.  It  aids  in  problems  with  the  digestive  system,  healing  colds, and  skin  health.

Distillation of flowers and herbs has a deep history in Iran. Many believe traditionally-distilled rosewater is of higher quality than that produced in factories probably due to shorter time interval between the harvest and distillation practices.

Kashan embraces abundant scenic landscape, historical sites and monuments such as UNESCO-registered Fin Garden with its Safavid and Qajar era edifices, Tabatabaei House, Boroujerdi House, Ameri House, a traditional bazaar, and Jame Mosque of Kashan just to name a few.


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