The Significance of Rose During Persian New Year
By Farida Irani
Rose water holds special significance during Navroze (Persian new year, during the Vernal Equinox). To this day Persian families lay a table with specific items including a mirror. After the new year comes in, every one in the family is shown the mirror. The idea is that you can see a reflection of your true inner self and make your resolutions for the New Year accordingly. The family members or any visitors are then blessed with a sprinkle of rosewater from a silver container called “gulabaksh”. The water is sprinkled and rubbed on the palms of the hands and face. This has a spiritual significance, as Rose cleanses negative vibrations, heals painful emotions from the heart chakra replacing it with peace, harmony, clarity, love and joy.
Rose water is referred to as Gulab in India, which dates back to Persian history and literally means flower (gul) and water (ab). The use of Rose water in beauty rituals dates back as early as the 7th Century AD where the ancient Persians (Parsi Zoroastrians and the later the Moghul Emperors) influenced and encouraged the use of rose in India. The Persians use rosewater extensively, in their cooking and in celebrations and ceremonies.
Rosewater is also used in many food preparations, especially in sweets with Cardamom. A special drink called Falooda is made on Navroze with rose essence in cold milk and Tulasi seeds. This balances the Pitta and is cooling and soothing for the body, in preparation for the long hot summer ahead in the northern hemisphere.
Rose as an essential oil is known as the ‘Queen of Oils’. Used a lot in Ayurveda medicine and as a flavouring and perfume, Rose Attars are very popular in India. Great for the Anahata (heart) chakra and for letting go of past relationships. It is an excellent emollient, with hydrating and toning qualities and is one of the most treasured essential oils in skincare. Rose cleanses the aura and is an excellent oil for the mother to be and after birth. It brings abundance, prosperity and joy.