Varf Chal Traditional Ceremony in Ab-e Ask Village, Amol, Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - There is an interesting tradition of one-day governorship of women in Ab-e Ask village, Mazandaran province, northern Iran.
On this special day which is selected every year by an elder of the village, no man is allowed to stay in the village and women take charge of the village affairs.
The event, naming Zan Shahi (women’s governorship), is celebrated on one of the Fridays of the month of Ordibehesht (April 21-May 21).
The ritual begins before sunrise. All inhabitants gather in the village’s big square. Members of the Village Council and the elderly sing songs and inform everybody that no man, older than 5, could stay in the village. Then women give the men all things they need for a day, and see them off till they leave the village.
Then the women of the village prepare themselves to rule over the village. Symbolically, one woman becomes the queen and another becomes the bride of the village. Others become ministers, guards and soldiers.
The soldiers take the busiest responsibility as they should frequently report the queen about the village’s conditions. The guards safeguard the village not letting any man enter the village.
The queen and others first visit families who have lost one of their members that year. Then they go to families who have sick members. The bride congratulates all women who have been newly married.
The queen of the village who is one of the prominent elders of women of the village, resolves any problem other women face on this day. If a woman has a complaint about another woman, she should raise the matter in public so that the issue would be tackled.
On this day, women dress beautiful colorful outfits, wearing no headscarf. They sing, dance, and play traditional games and tell stories. Many women, whose wishes are fulfilled that year, prepare and distribute food.
On the same day, men of Ab-e Ask village perform Barf Chal tradition outside the village. Barf Chal is the storing of snow in a well which will be used as drinking water on the hot season.
As the sun sets men of Ab-e Ask village return home and join their family.
Similar rituals are also held in different Iranian villages. The reign of women is marked also in Afus village, Isfahan province, at the end of spring, and Javaher-Deh village, Mazandaran province, in summertime.
Source: Tehran Times