Gol Ghaltan Festival
Gol Ghaltan is one of the oldest festivals in Iran, held for many years in various regions, including Tabas Geopark. This festival is held in the spring (early April to early May), which is the harvest season of Damask rose, for babies who are going through the first spring of their lives, and in which close relatives and other family members participate. Families collect Damask rose flowers on the day of the ceremony. People believe that rolling the body of a baby under the age of one-year-old among the petals of a Damask rose keeps the baby fresh and lively and away from various diseases, especially seasonal allergies.
Every year, an ancient festival, called Sadeh and dating back to the Zoroastrian period, is held fifty days before the ancient holiday of Nowruz in most villages and cities of Iran. From several days before the festival, people go to the surrounding deserts, collect the dry bushes, and transfer them to the roofs of the houses to make a fire and celebrate around it. They also collect wood and dry bushes in the open and large part of the village, where the villagers gather together and rejoice. Local songs and dances are performed around the fire along with reciting Sadeh poetry. Most of the villagers believe that the ashes of the Sadeh fire on their agricultural lands will increase the blessing and crop of their farm. Pirhajat and Kalshaneh are among the villages where the Sadeh festival is held, and many people from different parts of Tabas Geopark participate in this celebration.
Engraving skill (Especially Tabas)
The coppersmith skill in Tabas was closely related to the special Tabas engraving and the supply needed for engraving was prepared by the coppersmiths. Tabas special engraving is done in two styles of red and white burin. In the red burin style, some of the surface of the tin and copper is removed with a special burin and hammer, giving the color of red to the design. This style, also known as carving, is the first popular style for a long time and has a longer history than the white burin style.
Tabas engraving (including designs, burins, and engraving methods) is unique to this city and most of the works are very delicate depending on the experience of the craftsman. The field is at least 800 years old, according to evidence and interviews with old craftsmen and also based on copper utensils discovered in the area. The production of copper sheets in the smelting furnaces of Tabas shows the antiquity of this art in the city.
Drumming (Tabl-Zani or Tabbali) Ceremony
In the distant past, drumming ceremonies were common in Tabas to inform the Muslims of the time of pray at dawn. This ceremony is performed every year due to its pious foundation. The drumming ceremony is held during the holy month of Ramadan to announce the awakening of the believers; hence, the drums are played three times to awake the believers for vigilance and eating food before the dawn of the fasting day. Each drumming lasts for 10 to 15 minutes, and each turn includes three times with a one-hour interval. This ceremony has been registered in the list of national heritage under the number of 189.
According to historians, the aforementioned drums are spoils of one of the battles of Jafar Khan Zand in Tabas(father of Lotf Ali Khan Zand). Jafar Khan was defeated near Tabas and 2 cannons and five war drums were taken from him. These drums have been kept in the Tabas Khan’s mansion since the reign of Imad al-Mulk. Considering they had no special use, Imad al-Mulk ordered the drums to be taken to the top of the government building to be played in order to wake up the Muslims at dawn during Ramadan. In addition, as soon as Eid al-Fitr is announced, these drums were played for a quarter of an hour, which is called Shadiane (the happy call). Further, the two cannons have been used to announce the time of morning azan and iftar, firing two cannonballs.
In the past, medical facilities were not the same as today and many children died. Therefore, it was believed that if the child survives for the six days, it will survive ever after no more danger threatening its life. Thus, they named a baby on the sixth day after its birthdate.
Becha Becha (baby ,baby)
In the old days, about a week into the birth of a baby, the ceremony of “Bacha Bacha” was held in the house of the baby’s father. The baby’s parents invited the baby’s grandparents and close relatives for one night. When everyone gathered, the grandfather would say “Azan” in the baby’s right ear and “Iqamah” in its left ear, and so to speak, the child would become a Muslim by this ritual. Then, as a prayer, the baby was carried hand in hand among the present guests in the ceremony. For the first time, after reading “Azan” and Iqamah in the baby’s ears, the grandfather places the child horizontally on his two hands and sings:
God protect our baby, baby
God, Muhammad and Ali protect your baby
Take the child_ and then the person next to him would take the child and say: give the child.
It means that God has blessed us with a child and this child is ours and it is God’s gift and may God and Hazrat-e Muhammad and Hazrat-e Ali take care of this child.
And in the same way, they carried the child hand to hand around the house, and the guests would repeat the same song as they held the baby. At the same time, one person was carrying a knife around the house. Then, they would choose a name for the baby consulting the elders and the parents, usually the baby’s name had already been chosen by the parents to be made official in this ceremony, and the ceremony ended with the baby’s name being chosen and the distribution of sugar and sweets. It should be noted that the receptions were not as elaborate as today and mostly sugar and dates were popular.
The Nakhl Symbol Ritual
Mourning for the sufferings of imams is rooted in Shia history. Such mourning is intertwined with the custom, culture and religious beliefs of each region and has been so customized. One of the most magnificent rituals of the Iranians is the Muharram ritual and mourning for Imam Hossein (AS) and his companions. The most passionate day of mourning in Muharram is the 10th day Ashura. Men and women, the old and the young leave their homes early in the morning to go to the mourning ritual of Imam Hossein. Mourning groups on this day start marching in the streets and mourning earlier than the previous days. Until around noon, the groups visit all the Hayats and wait by the Nakhl Symbol. Mourners get under the Nakhl Symbol according to an old tradition. This is one of the most magnificent and famous rituals of Ashura. In addition, Tabas has two Nakhl Symbols, which are known as the city’s Nakhl Symbol (Nakhl-e Miarzeh) and the Paein Mahale Nakhl Symbol (Hayat Fatemi). Dihshak region, which has been adjourned to Tabas for several years, has its own Nakhl Symbol demonstrated in the same region. Most villages have their own Nakhl Symbols. “Nakhl” in this ritual is the symbol of Seyyed al-Shohada’s coffin. The mourning Nakhl Symbol is very similar to the cedar tree. In Iranian culture, cedar is a symbol of freedom, bravery, immortality and the afterlife which in fact describes the spirit of the third Shia imam. This ritual aims to keep the event of Ashura and the bravery of Shias alive.
Everyone from the city and the surrounding villages wait around Imam Khomeini Square (the main square of the city) at noon, for the Nakhl Symbol to arrive. Following the noon and evening prayers, held with the participation of mourners in the main mosque of the city, the first Nakhl Symbol is moved by a group of mourners including all the Hayats of the city. The crowd is pioneered by a line of camels and drums moving towards the main square of the city along with men and women in mourning.
There are two horses decorated with green and black velvet fabrics and jewelry moving among the crowd along with the Nakhl Symbol by some “sadat” of the city with the mourners, and the people surrounding the horse sing their special laments. The Nakhl Symbol is beautifully decorated with green and black velvet fabrics, flowers, oranges and boxwood the night before the ritual by some special people skilled in decorating the Nakhl Symbol; strong men carry it among the mourners. The sorrow of the crowd and the mourners is incredibly moving since the beginning of the ritual to the end, impressing every viewer by the sufferings of Imam Hussain.
After crossing the square, Nakhel symbol is taken back to its original location, known as Hosseiniyeh Miarzeh which will sit still until tomorrow morning. Mourning men and women, along with camel caravans and mournering Hayats, immediately go to the Paein Mahale Nakhl Symbol (Fatemi Hayat) and carry this Nakhl Symbol on their shoulders and take it to the main square of the city with the same aforementioned order and sadness. There are so many young people who faint from Imam Hussein grief and are carried out of the crowd on the shoulders of the mourners to be treated. This ritual continues until around 3 o’clock in the evening, and after the ritual, the mourners are usually treated with hot food by Hayats.
 Rolling babies in roses