May 30, 2023

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Ritual of rolling babies in flowers revived in southern Iran

TEHRAN – Gol Ghaltan ceremony (literally meaning rolling in flowers) has been revived in Khafr county of the southern Fars province, CHTN reported on Monday. 

Recently, with the aim of reviving the 100-year-old ceremony that hasn’t been performed for a long time, the ritual has been inscribed on the national heritage list, the report added. 

Gol Ghaltan is performed in several parts of the country in spring, but in Khafr it is performed with daffodils instead of roses, which are native to this region.

Furthermore, the ceremony is held in winter instead of spring due to the time of daffodil growth. 

Gol Ghaltan has roots in an old Iranian myth called ‘The Smiling Flower’, in which pure and holy humans promised the birth of a child.

People in this region believe that rolling babies among the flowers gives them joy and refreshment while keeping them untainted and free from diseases. 

Infants under one year of age are rolled in the petals of daffodils, which are collected by their mothers or grandmothers and poured into a light, white cloth.

A day before the ceremony, one of the grandmothers takes the baby to the bath. Baby’s hands are sometimes painted with henna in some regions. 

On the day of the ceremony, the baby is placed among the flowers on the cloth, and petals are poured on the babies, wishing them health and long life.

Women thereafter take four sides of the sheet and roll the baby among the petals while reciting religious songs and verses of the Quran, and waving the sheet back and forth, believing the soul will be cleansed and the child will be kept healthy and fresh.

Guests place their gifts near the cloth after the baby was placed on the floor. As the ceremony concludes, sweets and tea are served.

When the ceremony is over, mothers dry the petals by placing them in shade to keep them for the future, placing the dried petals in their future prayer rugs.

The ancient region of Fars also spelled Pars, or Persis was the heart of the Achaemenian Empire (550–330 BC), which was founded by Cyrus the Great and had its capital at Pasargadae. Darius I the Great moved the capital to nearby Persepolis in the late 6th or early 5th century BC.

The capital city of Shiraz is home to some of the country’s most magnificent buildings and sights. Increasingly, it draws more and more foreign and domestic sightseers flocking to this provincial capital which was the literary capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1751 to 1794.


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