Introduction to the Sangesar tribes
Mahdishahr or Sangesar is one of the cities of Semnan province. The city is the home of the Sangesar tribes, whose nomadic families live in the summer area, and it was known as the tribe in the past, and some changed the name a few decades ago. The city is the centre of the Sangesari tribes, and according to historical documents dating back to B.C. The Sangesars are the descendants of the first group of Aryans to come to Iran and still, after thousands of years, despite countless developments in the land, have preserved their ancient dialect from mixing with foreign words. The nomads of the Sangesar tribes are the most prominent nomads of the Alborz slopes. They have one of the longest seasonal migrations in the world. The migration length of some of their categories reaches about 1500 km per year (from summer to winter and vice versa). The migration of these tribes is different from other tribes in the country. Renowned European scholar Bernard Hourcade thinks that Sangsar tribes have the longest migration route in the world and their summer camps have a specific splendour in terms of size and luxury. He considered the success of these nomads significant in how they evolved from the inhabitants of a small town to the wealthiest and most mighty ranchers in the central and eastern Alborz region. Also, they are skilled ranchers who know traditional techniques well, take good care of their herds, monitor their people closely, and work themselves without hesitation.
The main occupation of the Sangesar tribes
The main occupation of the Sangesar tribes is livestock and agriculture, and Siah Chador (Gut) is the house of the Sangesar tribes in the summer. Today, parts of the rangelands of Semnan, Tehran, Qazvin, Qom, Arak, Mazandaran, Golestan, Gilan, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, and Isfahan are still under the Sangesar tribe’s control. But the origin of these tribes is in the Mehdishahr city in the Semnan province. Dr Morteza Farhadi, an Iranian sociologist, also believes that the cheese and oil production line among the Sangsar tribes is so developed and diverse that modern Iranian dairy factories must learn from them.
Sangesar Tribe Festival
The Sangesar Tribe Festival is known in the region for its centuries-old history. Upon entering the festival area, you will see some Siah Chador (Gut) on every corner, and in each of which there is ceremonies, customs, and rituals of the Sangesar tribe. The Sangesari music, cooking of a variety of traditional foods, specific dairy products of the Sangsar tribe, handicrafts, and the symbolic migration of the Sangesar tribes are the attractions of the festival. In each corner of the festival, you will see the way of Sangsar tribe lives, which is associated with their animals. At the same time, due to the specific livelihood of the Sangesar tribe, they have more than 32 dairy products, some of which are available at the festival. These dairy products are from Chico (native chocolate of Sangesar and Mahdishahr tribes) to Arsheh (made from cheese that has been soaked in water and has a warm nature), Varhaun (yellow oil of Arsheh cheese), and so on. At the festival and in Mahdishahr, handicrafts like Jajim and local clothes, designed with cross-stitch, are available. Sangesar women’s clothing is most similar to Zoroastrian women, called Kajin, made of silk, and its red colour has a lot of fans these days. Maknah shawl is another handicraft in the region. Also, baking all kinds of bread is done during this festival and in the city of Mahdishahr. And, you can purchase some of the products as a souvenir.
Sangesar Tribes Museum in Mahdishahr
The Sangesar Nomadic Museum deals with the tribe’s history and culture. The collection is the result of Mr. Pakzadian’s efforts and pieces donated by the people and nomads of Sangsar. In the museum, you can observe the woollen devices and implements, production stages of woollen and silk threads and fabrics, various tools of daily life, utensils, instruments, weapons, handicrafts and needlework art, clothing, an index of the urban life of Sangesar people in the past decades, and nomadic designs, a specific structure for the production of butter, a variety of special ovens for the production of dairy products and the Siah Chador (Gut), in two parts of the hall and the open space of the museum.