Friday, May 29, 2009


Hamed send me this fascinating story (posted with his permission whith slight edits that he authorized)

"I am pleased to share with you a new story that I have just heard about regarding natural resource management in a village in Iran.

Aabesk (آب اسک) is a village in the north of Iran, 90 Km away fromTehran toward Caspian Sea. Every year and by the second month ofspring, people in Aabesk perform very interesting ceremony that is called, Barfchal (برف چال/ Barf: Snow / Chal: Ditch) and Zanshahi ( /زنشاهیZan: Woman / Shahi: Kingdom).

By the first or second week of the second month of spring, all men from 7 to 70 years old in the village go to the mountain and cut pieceof snow. Then they carry the cut pieces and bury them in a special ditch by 12meters depth and 10 meters width. During this time when men are out of the village, women perform a womanly ceremony and call the ceremony as “Women Kingdom”. During the day the whole village is under authority of women and they dance in the streets and present breakfast and lunch to the inhabitant. In case they find any man in the village they would catch him and detain him in a stable, or even hit him hard! So no man dares to remain in the village whatsoever!

Barfchal is more than 600 years old. People who were suffering from water shortage during summer invented this way to save water in order to be used for their cattle and even their own water consumption. the ceremony was mingled with the religious belief among people and now a days it also consider an religious ceremony for village inhabitants to distribute some free food stuff according to avow they made for God.

As you can see in the photos, they have some flags close to the ditch on which it is written "یا ابوالفضل العباس" that refers to the role of Abu Fadl el Abbas, the son of Imam Ali and half brother of Imam Hussein as the water-carrier of Imam Hussein family during the battle of Karbala. This is the nice combination of religion and national ceremonies that is common in Iran.

Note: Recently this ceremony has got good reputation in Iran and tourists from all over the country come to participate."

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