News | Cultural Heritage
600-year-old Varf Chal Ritual

Date: 7 June 2017

Every spring, people in Ab Ask, a village near the northern city of Amol, mark a 600-year-old ceremony called “Varf Chal”, which literally means “snow storing”.

During the event, no man, except elders is allowed to stay in the village. They leave the place to go to Varf Chal to carry pieces of frozen snow left from winter, and put them in a ten-meter-deep pit as they believe the snow could provide fresh water for animals and thirsty passersby after being melted in summer.

On this day women take over everything and choose guards among ourselves to prevent men entering the village. They prepare bread from flour  offered and water fetched from nearby water springs from a few days before the ceremony.

The word ‘varf chat’ in Mazandarani dialect means a well dug by the villagers each year in May to fill it with snow, gathered from the mountains.

Ab Ask village is 90km away from Tehran on Haraz Road passing through Rineh, Abgarm and Lar region in the mountain range around Damavand Summit.

Source: Tavoos from Tehran Times and Mehr