Rituals, food skills from Ardebil win cultural heritage status

June 6, 2021 - 16:54

TEHRAN- A total of 18 cultural elements passed down from generation to generation in Ardebil province have been added to the National Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts on Saturday announced the inscriptions in a letter to the governor-general of the northwestern province, CHTN reported.

Ancient rituals of rainmaking with Chomcheh Galin doll, Yashil Sofreh, Khidir Nabi, and Galin Chikhdi which have long been practiced across the province are among the items added to the list.

The arid climate of Iran has always been a concern for people throughout history, which has culminated in various rituals, such as rain dances to rain prayers, across the country.

In times of drought, children cover big wooden spoons with dolls’ dresses and call them Chomcheh Galin, which is considered a rain doll. While singing songs and wishing for rain, they go to the houses in their town or village to collect necessary items for cooking Ash - a traditional slow-cooked, thick soup made with chickpeas, beans, noodles, and fresh herbs. When Ash is ready, it is given to all the people, who gather together to pray for rain.

The skill of making halva - a kind of traditional sweet dessert as well as the talent of making Ash, which is popular in Ardebil province, were also added to the prestigious list. 

Some more items including local games and the skill of jajim-bafi (a kind of hand-woven floor covering) were also inscribed on the list. 

Sprawling on a high, windswept plateau, whose altitude averages 3,000 meters above sea level, Ardebil is well-known for having lush natural beauties, hospitable people, and its silk and carpet trade tradition, it is also home to the UNESCO-registered Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble. 

The province is very cold in winter and mild in summer, attracting thousands every year. The capital city of Ardabil is usually recorded as one of the coldest cities in the country in winter.