Visitors flock to central Iran for rosewater festival
TEHRAN — A rose water distillation festival, commonly known as “Golab-giri”, has been held in Khomein county in central Iran, the head of Khomein’s tourism has said.
On Thursday, the two-day festival opened in the village of Shahabieh in a ceremony attended by hundreds of culture and tourism officials, Ali Mashhadi said on Saturday.
Performing traditional music, preparing local dishes and Gol Ghaltan (a ceremony in which people roll babies among roses to give them joy and refreshments) were part of the festival, the official added.
One of the main objectives of the festival was to promote rose cultivation and floriculture as well as to study the problems of florists to find solutions and promote this industry in the region, he noted.
Golab or rose water is obtained from a particular type of rose, known as Mohammadi roses in Iran. Harvesting the flowers seems to be the most important part of the process. They must be picked from dawn to morning with great care. The petals are put in massive copper pots and boiled, then the extracted water is kept in special bottles. The longer the distillation, the better the quality of the rose water.
Golab is used throughout the country in various traditional dishes to flavor them or also consumed as a religious perfume. The holy month of Ramadan is one of the best-selling months for the product.
The distillation of flowers and herbs has a long history in Iran. Many believe that traditionally distilled rose water is of higher quality than that produced in factories, possibly due to the shorter time intervals between harvesting and distillation practices.
Harvesting Damask rose flowers is quite intensive work. It is mainly performed from dawn to morning. A delay in harvesting or transportation to the distillery results in a decrease in the quantity and quality of the essential oil.
To extract rose water, people first collect their petals to put them in the massive copper pots. Then the pots are placed on traditional ovens made from bricks, stones and mud.
Almost all 30 kg of rose petals plus 80 liters of water are poured into each pot which is connected to metal pipes so that the steam circulates to obtain the hydrosol. Distillation waste is used for livestock feed or composting.