A symphony of scents and carnival flair: former royal palace hosts Golab-Giri festival

May 23, 2023 - 18:25

TEHRAN – A time-honored Golab-Giri festival, dedicated to pink roses, is currently underway on the premises of Kakh-e Morvarid (Pearl Palace), which was once a Pahlavi royal residence in Karaj, the capital of Alborz province.

Visitors can experience a traditional distillation process that involves picking flower petals, collecting the fragrant oil in jars and steam rising from the giant pots, a local tourism official said on Tuesday.

Some 75 stalls have been set up on the sidelines of the event to offer rosewater products, handicrafts and souvenirs from across the country, the official said.

Moreover, participants from Kermanshah, Hamedan, Tabriz, Isfahan, Yazd and several other provinces showcase their ancient skills and perform traditional dances in the festival that runs through May 31.

Every year in May and June, hundreds of Golab-Giri festivals take place, where roses reign and fragrant dreams come true. For centuries, the delights of fragrant roses have taken center stage in Kashan and surrounding lands, as honored guests and locals pluck petals with gentle care and joy.

Iran has a long history of concentrating flowers and herbs. Many people think that traditionally distilled rose water is of higher quality than rose water made in factories, likely due to the faster harvesting and distillation processes.

Traditionally, rose water is made from a flower with a very sweet scent, best known in the country as Mohammadi roses. In the early morning, the flower harvest is almost complete. Rumor has it that delays in harvesting or transporting it to the distillery are causing a drop in the quantity and quality of essential oils. Each pot is filled with 80 liters of water and almost 30 kilograms of rose petals, and connected with metal pipes, allowing steam to flow through to create the hydrosol. Distillation waste can be composted or fed to animals.

A therapeutic effect is attributed to rose water and rose oil. Some claim that rose oil calms the mind and relieves anxiety, stress, and depression. Stories have it that rosewater-based products can help with digestive problems, colds, and skin problems.

A cherished event in Iranian culture, Golab-Giri is also a celebration of Iranian generosity and hospitality in addition to the harvest of roses.


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