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Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Three - 07 March 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Three - 07 March 2023 - Page 10

Two historic accounts of Mid-Sha’ban celebrations


The Eid of Mid-Sha’ban has a special place in Shia Islam and, consequently, Iranian culture. People of Iran decorate their houses, shops, and neighborhoods for the occasion, and invite passersby to a serving of sherbet and confectionaries.
The Mid-Sha’ban celebrations also have a long history in Iran, dating back to the time of the Safavid dynasty. Following you’ll find two accounts of such celebrations.
The first one belongs to the Qajar-era diplomat Qahraman-Mirza Salvar, titled Ayn al-Saltaneh, kept journals which later turned into a great asset for any researcher of Iranian history.
On October 4, 1906, he wrote: “It’s an auspicious day. Last night, Tehran and Shemiran were drowned out in light. The whole of Iran tries its best for this specific Eid to celebrate. And the whole country is illuminated. Caravanserais – big and small – and the whole of bazaar and the streets are unprecedentedly illuminated. What I mean is, this is a nationwide tradition. Especially last night; inside the mansions of some of the businessmen, in some small caravanserais and on some streets; people were invited and were served with sherbets and pastries. It was an out-and-out glorious ceremony.”
The second account – which consists of two parts speaking of two different Mid-Sha’ban celebrations – belongs to Mohammad-Ali Minabi Bandar-Abbasi, titled Sadid al-Saltaneh Kababi, who was a late Qajar, early Pahlavi-era poet, author, and historian.
On Tuesday, January 19, 1897, he wrote: “After lunch, we went to Sadat Akhavi mansion. Sadat Akhavi is a family of several brothers, the eldest of whom is named Seyyed Ali. Each year, they hold a public feast at their mansion for the occasion of the birth of Imam Mahdi (AS) on 14th and 15th of Sha’ban. People from all walks of life go there for a serving of hookah and tea and maybe some pastries. Some people, after much insistence, accept two silver coins as a token of consecration.
[Later,] Whoever is still present for dinner will be served. All of the great ulema and politicians and businessmen go there for consecration, and everybody, each to the extent of their financial ability, sends a gift for the Sadat. Last year, on this occasion, the King [Nasser al-Din Shah] had gone there.”
Thirty-four years later, he wrote: “Today, I was walking past bazaar, and [saw that] most of the shops were decorated in honor of Imam Mahdi (AS) […] Sadat Akhavi family is a family of Tehran’s noblemen who celebrate this Eid every year and go the whole hog. This year is their 49th time.”


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