Muharram mourning rituals in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province
Although about 1,400 years have passed since the great tragedy of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, when Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Imam of Shia Muslims, and his faithful companions were martyred in the Battle of Karbala, not only has the importance of the event not diminished, but the more time passes, the more magnificent mourning rituals are held across the world.
The Muharram processions symbolize the eternal and unwavering stance of truth against falsehood and humanity’s struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression, the cause for which Imam Hussein (PBUH) was martyred. Shia Muslims in all Iranian cities dress in black, erect mourning tents, decorate their neighborhoods with black banners and participate in mass processions.
Various traditional ceremonies, with roots in the culture of local the people, are held to commemorate the anniversary of the important religious event across Iran, chtn.ir reported.
Numerous mourning ceremonies are held in the southwestern province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, like any other provinces of the country, especially during the first 10 days of Muharram, including the ta’zieh (a narrative, musical, epic and religious performance) of Suq, which was registered on Iran’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
In the past several years, the ta’zieh, attended by a large number of people, was played out in Dehdasht, located near the city of Suq, in cooperation with the province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization.
Fereydoun Davari, a writer and researcher from Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, said that in the past the nomads of the province prepared for holding the mourning rituals two or three days before the start of Muharram.
Choosing and cleaning the place of the ceremonies as well as preparing and installing mourning flags, banners and signs were among the measures carried out by the local people.
“Some individuals used to move in the streets of the cities, reciting mourning poems to inform the people about the ceremonies. Men and women formed separate circles and mourned for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and his companions,” he said.
A horse was symbolically decorated with colorful fabrics in memory of Zuljanah, the horse of Imam Hussein.
Davari continued that in cold winter nights, the mourners used to light a fire to warm and illuminate the place of mourning where people assembled, pointing out that every newcomer brought a piece of firewood and threw it into the fire. All people participated in the ceremony with dark colored clothing.
He said that, presently, votive offerings, known in Persian as nazri, are cooked and distributed among the mourners, especially on the days of Tasu’a and Ashura (the 9th and 10th days of Muharram).
Sometimes local halva and =breads are prepared and distributed among the mourners.
“On the day of Ashura, mourners moved to the shrines of Imamzadehs (honoring the descendants of Imams) to perform the noon prayer. One tradition is preparing halim (a traditional Persian meal made with wheat), known also as hariseh, on the morning of Ashura,” he concluded.