The Levantine Rose Picking Festival… a social ritual that reflects Syrian cultural heritage – video – SANA

Rif Dimashq-SANA

The Levantine Rose Picking Festival kicked off today in the village of Al-Marah in the Damascus countryside, forming a magnificent picture She carried in her folds the lyrics, songs, poetry and folk dances that sang of her beauty and expressed her economic, aesthetic and medical importance and how she was able to bring the name of Syria to the world after her coronation on the list of Intangible Human Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO in 2019.

The inhabitants of the village of Al-Marah dispersed in the early morning carrying baskets in the rose fields. They gathered around the bushes they loved and began to pick them with love and tenderness, spreading their scent and fragrance in an atmosphere that resembled an art painting in which the colors were mixed.

Thanks to the support and monitoring provided by the Syrian Trust for Development in coordination and cooperation with the local community, the rose was able to transcend its borders as a flower to become a culture, perfume, food and medicine that represented Syria from the thousands of years ago and has manifested itself as a social ritual with its own aesthetic particularity deriving from the rich cultural and heritage heritage of Syrian society.

During the harvesting operations saturated with perfume and beauty, the farmers of the Damascene rose compete to enumerate its benefits and sing its symbolism, because it is part of the Syrian heritage that touches all regions of the world.

Mahmoud Mukhtar Khoja, one of the Damascus rose growers, described him during his interview with the SANA reporter as “our ambassador to the world” thanks to the support he receives from the Damascus countryside governorate , from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Syrian Trust for Development, recalling the importance of developing it and raising future generations on their love because they are part of our heritage and our authenticity.

And the sweet scent of the rose in the place leads us to the ladies who separate the rose petal from its base, to share with them the parts of the conversation, as Souad Al-Bitar says who “after more than forty years of work with the rose and the manufacture of its products, his attachment and love for it increased as it is the basis of their livelihood and economy”, while the splendor of Khoji compared the cultivation of the rose Shamiya is raising children, which was confirmed by Reem Bitar, who said, “We grew up and were raised with the Damask rose, and it represents all that is beautiful in our lives.”

The children Muhammad, Gad and Fatima Khoja distribute roses to the guests with a smile that embodies their joy of the harvest season, which does not exclude any of the villagers, young and old, and the children, noting that they participate in the harvest season and help their parents by taking care of the rose throughout the year, as one of them said: “They grow up with it”.

The support and monitoring of the rose and the cooperation with several parties have resulted in promising investment projects, according to what Hamza Bitar, owner of the Al-Bitar Foundation for the revival and development of the Damascus rose in the village of Al-Marah, indicated that the Foundation has been dealing since 1980 with the cultivation and distillation of the Damascus rose with simple primitive devices. Al-Shamiya, through an agreement with one of the laboratories, produces cosmetic creams in addition to other traditional products such as jam, water and rose syrup.

One of the modern rose farmers in the village of Al-Marah is Muhammad Jamal Abbas, who started it in 2009 and in recent years has been able to set up a small business for the production and distillation of products from rose base using simple techniques to extract water and rose fragrance and making rose jam and syrup Al-Warda, wishing to partner with authorities and farmers to expand work and achieve greater value added.

The director of the community lighthouse program in Damascus and in his Syrian Development Fund campaign, Muhammad Tariq Al-Jiroudi, said in a statement to the SANA reporter that to celebrate the registration of the rose as one of the of Syrian cultural heritage for the year 2019, a national plan has been drawn up for a period of six years, in which the secretariat is committed to achieving this, including today’s festival, stressing that it Communicate with the inhabitants and farmers of the village of Al-Marah to learn more about their needs and how to guarantee the conditions required for the expansion of Levantine culture, and for the village of Al-Marah to be the compass which exports this agriculture to other regions inside and outside the governorates of Damascus and its countryside, such as Hama and Aleppo.

Al-Jiroudi pointed out that the Syrian Fund for Development seeks to network with organizations, institutions and ministries to achieve other goals and harness the resources that go towards the cultivation of the rose. In parallel, the reality of the rose and the recovered and cultivable culture The areas are studied in detail in order to extend their cultivation in all the governorates whose environment is commensurate with the rose.

In a speech to the governor of the Damascus countryside, Moataz Abu Al-Nasr Jamran, he indicated that the governorate was working in coordination with the Syrian Trust for Development, the Al-Marah Association for the Levant rose and civil society to to advance and expand the cultivation of Damascene has increased through the recovery of a large area of ​​land in the Qalamoun region, pointing out that the recovered area amounted to about 5,000 dunams. Creation of a well to support this culture in Al-Marah and rehabilitation of some agricultural methods that facilitate the process of planting, caring for and picking the rose, in addition to providing all the necessary facilities to advance the reality of this crop and open additional markets for it.

At the end of the festival, distinguished farmers from Al-Marah were honored for their efforts and continuous work in the development of the Damascus rose.

The festival was attended by Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Engineer Muhammad Hassan Qatana, Secretary General of the Damascus Campaign branch of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, Engineer Radwan Mustafa, a certain number of members of the People’s Assembly, the Cuban ambassador to Damascus Miguel Porto Barga, members of the executive office of the governorate, representatives of bodies and popular organizations and a number of heads of institutions.

Ismail Ambassador

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Al-Marah Village – Damascus Countryside

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