In ancient Rome, legend held that the rose first sprung from the blood of Adonis. Crowns of roses were used in weddings, garlands were hung at banquets and petals were strewn beneath the feet of victors. And while we may not be in ancient times, there is still a place that revels in the luxurious beauty of this flower: the Morrocan Festival of Roses.
Held annually in El Kelaâ M’Gouna, approximately 50 miles northeast of Ouarzazate, in the Dadés Valley, Morocco’s Festival of Roses celebrates the season’s rose harvest. Known as the Valley of Roses, the air is scented with the fragrant Centifolia rose, also called the Persian or cabbage rose, and the streets are lined in flowering hedgerows. The Moroccan rose industry is centered here, processing the lush pink blooms into rose oils for perfumes, beauty products, and cooking ingredients. It takes nearly 7,000 pounds of petals to make just 35 ounces of oil, and you can tour the country’s largest rose distillery to see how rosewater and rose attar (essential oil) are made.