US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Rose is the national flower of Iran. It is bright and charming, with a pronounced aroma. The city of Kashan, located about two to three hours from Tehran, the capital of Iran, is considered the “birthplace of roses.” If you have ever been fortunate enough to visit this city from mid-April to mid-May – at a time when the whole city is filled with floral aroma, then you probably found the annual “Rose Festival”.
At this time, you can not only buy rose water, tea, wine or essential oil from rose petals, but also see with your own eyes flower growers collecting rose petals and making rose water.
However, due to the epidemic of coronavirus infection that erupted in late February this year, the Iranian government closed all the tourist attractions of the country. Kashan was no exception. According to the local florist, “the ban on the entry of tourists due to the epidemic negatively affected the development of flower shops. Because of this, retail sales of roses and rose water have declined significantly.”
According to the chairman of the Federation of Rose Water Production of Iran, local media reports, “50% of rose water is usually sold from March to May of each year, since this is a high tourist season, at this time a large number of local and foreign tourists come to Iran. Kashan is the only city that meets on the way from Tehran to Isfahan.
According to historical records, back in the era of the Sassanid dynasty, which ruled in the 3rd century AD, the Persians knew that a rose can be eaten. Some research reports indicate that rose water and rose petal essential oil have calming properties that eliminate depression, sadness and nervous tension. In addition, they can improve skin condition, normalize digestion and help cure the flu.
Along with this, according to the Iranians, the Persian rose is a sacred flower. In ancient Persia, red rose petals symbolized the color of fire. Therefore, the Persians, who worshiped the fire, used a large number of rose petals to bury the dead, believing that this could cleanse the soul of the deceased and rather bring it to Heaven.
During the Arabs’ invasion of Iran in the 7th century AD, Islam gradually became the main Persian faith. It is said that the Prophet Muhammad was very fond of Persian roses. One day he said to believers: “He who wants to smell my smell, let him breathe the smell of a rose.” Therefore, the Persian rose is also called the “rose of Muhammad.” Today, during religious ceremonies and events, rose water is sprayed in Iranian mosques.
Mosques have always been the main consumers of rose water, especially in Ramadan. During the month, many religious events take place, during which a large amount of rose water is used. But in mid-March, the Iranian government closed mosques throughout the country and banned religious events. Mosques, which have always been fragrant with the scent of roses, are now filled with the smell of alcohol.
Around the XII century, during the Crusades, Europeans brought this rose from the Syrian city of Damascus to Europe, which is why it is also called a damask rose. Currently, the Persian rose is grown all over the world, but Kashan is still the most famous place of production. The climate and soil of this city have a positive effect on the growth of Persian roses, so the rose water and essential oil produced here have the best quality in the world. Currently, more than 2,500 hectares of Persian roses are grown in Kashan.
More than 2,800 families work on plantations. In the flower collection season, more than 70 thousand people are attracted here. We can say that the planting, processing and sale of roses and related products, in addition to tourism, have become the most important source of income for the local population of Kashan. Today, there are about 1, 8 thousand traditional workshops for the production of rose water and essential oil from rose petals, as well as more than 100 modern plants for the processing of these products. About 20 thousand tons of high-quality rose water are produced annually.
Too much rain fell this spring, so rose yields were 1.5 times higher than in previous years. However, due to severe restrictions and the prohibition on hiring workers from other places, a shortage of labor to collect roses has formed. As a result, a large number of flowers were destroyed. It is reported that 40% of rose water and other related products produced last year are still not sold and are in stock.
However, in connection with the improvement of the epidemiological situation in Iran in late April, the government announced the removal of restrictions on the movement of people between the provinces. Thus, tourists began to visit Kashan again in order to feel the aromas of spring and roses. As the great Persian poet Hafiz Shirazi, who loved roses and wine, wrote: “Flowers bloomed in the rose garden again. This is good news: spring has come, the earth has again become full of life. At this time, there is nothing better than fresh flowers and excellent wine.”
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