Rosewater festivals attract travelers to northern Iranian villages

Tehran Times – Every year, by early June, rosewater festivals take center stage in Gildeh and several neighboring villages, attracting hundreds of travelers to Shaft county of the northern Gilan province.

Shaft embraces some six hectares of very sweet smelling kind of roses, best known as Mohammadi roses in the country.

The county, however, is little-known when it comes to such festivals that are more established in the oasis city of Kashan or its surrounding villages in central Iran.

Visitors may revel in lush flower gardens or witness how locals make rosewater step by step from harvesting to steaming damask rose petals. They usually buy bottles of fresh rosewater and other household products.

Golab or rosewater is a fragrant distillate of the roses which is used nationwide in diverse traditional dishes to flavor them or consumed as a religious perfume as well. Distillation ceremonies are locally called “Golab-giri”.

Almost every 30 Kg of rose petals plus 80 liters of water are poured into each pot that is connected to metal pipes for the steam moving through to obtain the hydrosol. The waste of distillation is used for feeding livestock or composting.

Many believe traditionally distilled rosewater is of higher quality from that of produced in factories probably due to shorter time interval between the harvest and distillation practices.