Roses must be one of the most popular flowers in the world; the inhabitants of El-Kelaâ M’Gouna in Morocco would probably agree, as they depend on them to make a living.
Vallée des Roses
The roses of the area aren’t just grown for their aesthetic charm, they are a crop grown to make rosewater. If you’ve ever visited the Atlas Mountains it may seem surprising that the arid mountain area so close to the Sahara could be the centre of rose production, but it is here that you find the Vallée des Roses, an area covered with pink Persian roses. The roses are harvested in mid-May depending on the weather, and the small town is crowded as around 20,000 people come to join in the celebrations which last for three days.
During this time there are markets, feasts, dancing and singing. This is also a time to make business deals, and farmers and buyers can be seen haggling and cementing deals with handshakes. There is also a procession lead by a kind of beauty queen who is given the title Miss Rose, and as the floats make their way through the streets rose petals are thrown at the participants.
I suppose you could say everything’s coming up roses in El-Kelaâ M’Gouna!