ARTICLES 
4th June 2005: Welcome to the Rose Valley Festival in Karlovo
Information by Karlovo Office

On the first Saturday of June Karlovo becomes the capital of the most beautiful and aromatic flower the rose. This festival is an opportunity to demonstrate the beauty of the heritage of this Bulgarian region and its present day dimensions.
The Day of Roses begins with the ritual called Rose picking in the rose fields near Karlovo. The fields ripple like a sea whose surface flitters from shades of pink rose to blooming green mint. The multicolored embroidery of folk costumes and fine shirts of the young boys and girls mix with the colors of the rose bushes, the clear blue sky resounds with the inimitable tones of folk songs and music. Foreign guests have the opportunity to experience the unforgettable moment, to enjoy this beauty on the impressive background of the majestic Balkan (Stara Planina Mountain).
From the rose gardens the celebration moves to the central square of the town. Here, young boys carry on their hands the Queen of Roses, the most beautiful girl of the year, chosen in a competition. Wearing a wreath of roses, she greets the citizens and guests of the town with a shower of roses. A joyful and exciting ceremony begins. Famous performers of folk and modern dancing and singing are presented and the celebration ends with a winding horo dance (the typical Bulgarian chain dance)
The day is also marked with concerts and cultural events. Traditionally an art exhibition is opened on that day. In the open, craftsmen and artists present their products of fine art and folklore. A social pavilion exhibits the production of Bulgarian Rose Factory Karlovo, a long-time producer of natural aromatic products, synthesis of aromatic substances and production of perfumes and cosmetics.
This Rose Festival has existed for nearly 100 years. In the beginning of the 20th century it was organized on the first days of June, on the day of the Holy Spirit, when rose petals are in full blossom. This tradition has continued through the years.

The Rose is a gift from God, a symbol of heavenly beauty and love. Its beauty and exquisite aroma have been praised in manuscripts, stories and poems. Countless legends and traditions have been created in her name.
The history of the oil-bearing rose must be searched among the valleys of ancient Persia, according to the legends the original rose did not have thorns. God Ariman the god of gold appeared and people became greedy and sinful, then the roses started growing thorns.
The rose, which was carried and planted in the area around Kashan to the east of the present-day capital of Iran, Teheran, closely resembles the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose. For the start of dissemination of oil-bearing rose from the near and far East to Europe we can look back to the 13th century. 1270 years ago, in the time of the Crusades, Earl Brewie introduced a rose from Damascus, Syria to France. The name of Damascan Rose came up from this event.
Reports of rose cultivation in the Balkan Peninsula area are provided by Pliney the Elder (24-79c.e). In his Natural History he recorded that in the Thracian Province of the Roman Empire 12 species of rose are grown. One of them carries the name Thracian Rose.

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