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Daily stories about toiran. Read stories about our road trips adventures in different cities and office life.

Month: April 2016

Distillation of Rosewater ‘Golabgiri’

The city of Kashan, which lies in a desert at the eastern foot of the Central Iranian Plateau, 220 kilometers south of Tehran, was once a popular vacation spot for Safavid Kings.

The city has found fame for its many traditional mansions including the Tabatabaei House,Boroujerdi HouseAmeri House and Abbasi House.  The most delicate of Persian arts and crafts have been employed in the design and decoration of these mansions. The 10th century Kashan Bazaar with its magnificent lightwells, the heavenly Fin Garden with its Safavid and Qajar bathhouses and the Jame Mosque of Kashan are some of the city’s major attractions.

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Kashan is also popular for its rosewater, In Ordibehesht (Mid May to early June), an annual festival of Rose and Rose Water is being held in this city , which is the product of Qamsar, Niyasar and Barzak, smaller towns of Kashan province, and the three main producers of rosewater (Golab) for over 800 years.

Golab (rosewater) is a fragrant distillate of rose which in Iran is used in different traditional dishes to flavor them or consumed as a religious perfume as well. Although there are many modern manufactories constructed to produce rosewater but it is still made traditionally in kashan and around kashan with distillation equipment containing large copper pots with special pipes to obtain herb hydrosol and special oven made by bricks.

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In spring, The Ceremony of Rosewater Distillation, flower picking (Mohammadi roses) and extraction of rosewater (Golabgiri), starts when rose buds begin to open. In this season, the whole town is filled with the aroma of roses and rosewater. Before distillation people starts collecting Mohammadi roses and collect their petals to put into the copper pots. Then the pots are put on the oven made from bricks or stones and mud.

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Almost every 30 Kg of rose petals are poured into the pot containing 80 liters of water. The pot is then covered to steam the water and rose. The pots include iron or aluminum pipes for the steam moving through to obtain hydrosol.

In the evenings music is played and people sing till midnight, to entertain the visitors and tourists, and to sooth the weary gardeners and their families. The festival is truly worth visiting.

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Nomads OF Persia

 

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Iranian civilization dates back to thousands of years ago. While Iran is known for fascinating historic architecture as well as fabulous city and garden designs, the non-settled nomadic way of life is another intriguing aspect of Iranian culture. The mobile civilization or the nomadic lifestyle is the oldest way of life of human beings that still exists in Iran despite all the difficulties.

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One exceptional opportunity that traveling in Iran offers is visiting and getting a taste of the nomadic way a life with certain tribes. The nomadic lifestyle in Iran has been lived for thousands of years and it still exists. Even though the nomadic life is becoming more and more difficult, the nomads of Persia are holding on tight not wanting to change their life style. Today there are 1.5 Million registered nomads still living in Iran.

Nomadic culture usually means that people move around through out the year with their tribe, tents, animals and belongings. Most of the nomadic tribes Migrate in fall and spring. However, some tribe of Iran who live in tents do not move around any more and therefore it is advised that they be called clans instead of tribes. The tribes of Iran are divided to two groups of full migrating nomads and semi nomads.

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There are several nomadic tribes in Iran from different ethnic origins such as Turks, Turkmans, Kurds, Lurs, Baluchis, Arabs and Persians. The nomads of Persia each speak a different language, have different biological make-ups and keep a distinct culture. Quashkis, Bakhtiari’s, and Baseri’s are amongst the most famous tribes of Iran.

The nomadic lifestyle of Iran is based on the pastoral livestock. They distinctively use the wool and the dairy products of their animals for different productions, trades and their own use. The diet of the nomads usually consists of dairy products and local vegetable and rice. Nomads consume very little meat and meat is usually considered a food of special occasions such as weddings.

The tribes of Iran in large scales do the production of beautiful Iranian carpets, rugs and qulims. Women and girls solely do the making of the rugs and they know the designs by heart and do not use cartoons. The patterned textiles of the nomads each tell a tale of an era.

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The tribal culture is very music oriented and their music is usually inspired by nature. They have their own distinct instruments and use music in celebrations as well as in mourning ceremonies. Music is also a way to cope with life and day to day difficulties for the nomads. The wedding celebrations are usually very festive and take a few days. Family creation is a necessity to nomadic culture and divorce is prohibited in many tribes and considered a shame in others. The wedding customs outfits of the nomads are very colorful and tastefully designed. Qashqi’s tribal designs and outfits are amongst the most beautiful Iranian designs.

 

 

Spring Season In Iran

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Astara in Spring

Astara in Spring

While traveling in a four-season country extends the advantage of new experiences, varied sceneries and different activities associated with each season, yet spring remains the prime time to travel in Iran for many people. The Pleasant climate and the green terrains in the diverse geographical locals of Iran enhance the festive mood of celebrating spring season throughout the country. Spring in Iran offers the most moderate weather with delicate, fresh landscapes complimenting voyage in Iran.

Spring Mood in Tehran

Spring Mood in Tehran

Despite the fact that many people imagine Iran to be a mostly deserted region, the geography of the country is rather uniquely diverse. Mountains bordering large deserts cover half of Iran while the country lies in between two sea-sides, the Caspian Sea up north and the Persian Gulf down south. While the hottest spot on the earth has been identified in Lut desert in the center of Iran, half of the country located in the mountains or the areas nearby can be extremely cold. Iran could be extremely hot or cold in many parts due to the combination of the dry mountain and desert climate. The coastal parts near the Caspian Sea and the Persian Golf are exceptionally humid and could get extremely hot and humid during summer. Spring season in Iran, on the other hand, bestows the most pleasant and moderate weather in all region.

Spring in Iran starts with a festive celebration of Nowruz or New Year on March 21st. Persian calendar just like the western calendar consists of four seasons. Each season has three Months of thirty days each and Farvardin, Ordibehesht and Khordad are consecutively the names of the three months of spring. The Persian New Year commences on the first day of spring. Therefore, Farvardin the 1st, that usually falls on March 21st is the first day of Spring and the new-year. Ordibehesht is the second month of spring that usually begins on April 21st and ends on May 20th. Khordad is the last month of the spring season, which coincides May 21st till June 20th.

Spring starts with two weeks of Nowruz celebration that is the longest holiday in Iran. Nowruz takes place from 1st to 13th of Farvardin (usually coinciding March 21st till April 2nd). People go back to work and school on the 14th day of spring with high spirits to have a fresh start of the year. As the temperature rises people’s mood enhances with the sight of the green landscapes of the mountains, forests, and coast sides.

Imperial Crown Fields

Imperial Crown Fields

Even the plains, deserts and Sahara bloom in spring with fresh vegetation and desert flowers all over. The breathtaking vista of large wild Imperial Crown flower fields of foothills of Zagros mountains and the terrains nearby in Ordibehesht is a must see.

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Ordibehesht (April 20th till May 21st) is known to be the month of traveling amongst Iranians as the pleasant air reaches its peak and the fragrance of orange blossoms are scented in many parts of Iran including the Caspian Sea coast and Shiraz. Ordibehesht of Shiraz is famous for the scent of Orange blossoms and has always been an inspiration to the poetic Persian culture. There are numerous poems by the prominent poets of shiraz regarding the spring.

Golabgiri, Kashan

Golabgiri, Kashan

Amongst many festivals that take place in spring, Golabgiri of Kashan, the festival of collecting rose water in Ordibehesht in Kashan stands out. Sizdahbedar in Farvardin is also a widespread, festive tradition of Iranians in Farvardin. Panjah Bedar (50 Bedar) is another tradition of the spring, that takes place on 19th of Ordibehesht, that is the 50th day of the New Year. The tradition of Panjah Bedar is very similar to that of Sizdah Bedar with the exception that it’s no longer as commonly celebrated in many areas except in Ghazvin Province. Panjah Bedar takes place on Ordibehesht 19th that is the 50th day of the New Year. As spring is the most popular season to travel to Iran, it is advisable to book accommodations and flights in advance.

 

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Sizdah Bedar is the thirteenth day of Norooz celebration, which signifies a transition from the holiday to remerge to one’s day-to-day life.  As Charshanbeh Souri marks the beginning of Norooz Holidays, Sizdah Bedar announces its end. Sizdah bedar is a very festive event and is also known as the nature day of Iranians. It is customary for people to leave their homes and to spend the whole day out in nature. People joyously gather with their friends and families in parks, gardens or mountains and spend the whole day celebrating with a picnic, eating the special food, playing lots of different games and performing their special Sizdah Bedar rituals.

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The word Sizdah means thirteen and Bedar means getting rid of. The name of this holiday literally means getting rid of 13 that was known as an unlucky number in Persian culture as well as in many other cultures. Even though this is an ancient festival of Iranians, it signifies no religious ties and it is solely a festive celebration in Iranian culture today. In the ancient times, the first 12 days of Norooz were associated with order and the thirteenth day symbolized chaos, which explains why people would leave their homes and spend the day out in the abundant, peaceful nature to avoid the omens. In the ancient culture the 13th day of Norooz was also associated with the deity of water that was depicted by a horse symbol. Therefore, people used to do sports that involved horses and made offerings to water that was an element of rain deity and asked for rain, which was essential for agriculture.

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One custom of Sizdah Bedar is that people have to remove Sabzeh from their Haft Sin and throw it out in nature, usually giving it to a running water stream like a river. To grow Sabzeh, that is an integral component of Haft Sin, Iranians soak grains such as wheat and lentils to represent rebirth and growth usually a week before the Norooz. Sabzeh is present on Haft Seen and kept till the Sizdah Bedar while it supposedly absorbs all the pain and illnesses of the coming year. After Sizdah Bedar it is unlucky to keep the Sabzeh in the house, it is also considered unlucky to touch anybody else’s Sabzeh or bring it back home.

Other customs of Sizdah Bedar include eating an Iranian noodle soup called Ash-e-Reshteh accompanied with a variety of food and drinks and knotting blades of grass by unmarried girls to wish marriage the upcoming year.  It is also customary that while socializing and enjoying each other’s company during the picnic, people make a bluff or tell a lie. Much like April Fool’s, one is supposed to make a lasting joke that people would believe.  Once they unveil the truth about the ruse it becomes the joke of Sizdah Bedar or “Doroogh e Sizdah” which literally means the lie of the 13th. The joy, happiness and laughter are known to clean people’s minds to prepare for a fresh start of daily life in New Year. The memorable fun event of Sizdah Bedar is enhanced by joy and laughter with friends and family to welcome the New Year. We wish you all a happy and very jolly Sizdah bedar and a beautiful year to come.

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