Rose water ritual up for global registration

Tehran, Oct 22, IRNA – The annual festival for producing rose water and the religious ritual of washing the Holy Kaaba, in the Saudi city of Mecca, with Persian rose water will be registered on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, said Farhard Nazari, the deputy head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization for Registration of Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage Department.

He said Iran has compiled relevant records for registration but the confirmation of Saudi experts is also required since as half of the dossier pertains to a ceremony which takes place in Saudi Arabia, Tehran-based English newspaper, Iran Daily, reported.

‘It would be one of the most valuable dossiers ever submitted to UNESCO,’ he said, adding UNESCO welcomes cases which are jointly prepared by nations.

Rose water festival is held each spring in Qamsar, near Kashan, in Isfahan province. An estimated 15,000 tons of rose water is produced in the city each year.

Nazari said in line with this, a special annual ceremony is also held to produce 80 liters of pure, high quality rose water for washing the Holy Kaaba. ‘Half of the rose water is used for washing the holy site during the lunar month of Rajab while the other half is used in the month of Zihajjeh.’

The washing of holy Kaaba was first carry performed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), after Muslims conquered it in 629 CE .

Top Saudi officials, including several ministers, Islamic scholars, Muslim diplomats, as well as citizens and visitors to the Grand Mosque near the Kaaba attend the washing ceremony.