Iran’s Gilan Province stretches along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. It is a green, fertile region where farmers grow tea, rice and silk worms. In one rice processing plant, where we stopped to buy bags of rice for family in Tehran, the owner combined two of these businesses in one building: downstairs, he stripped the husks from the rice with loud, rattling machines, while silkworms happily munched on mulberry leaves overhead. Very practical.
In Gilan Province and its Western neighbor of Mazandaran, people celebrate a special spring festival just before the Persian New Year. Young girls carry herbs and lanterns to celebrate fertility, life and good luck. The highlight of the event is a play, set outdoors, in which Pir Baba fights a black ogre to win the heart of Arous Gol (whose name means Flower Bride).
Watch a clip of this colorful celebration here. It takes place in the village of Masouleh, and the narration is in Farsi (Persian) with English subtitles.