Tehran’s Vahdat Hall highlights Ashura rituals
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- Iranian Shia Muslims are mourning the great loss of their sacred Imam, Imam Hussein (AS) on the first ten days of Muharram with each region having its own special traditions and ceremonies.
Ashura is the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram and the day Imam Hussein (AS) was martyred.
A remarkable part of our art and culture are reflected in the words recited by mourners in the elegies, liturgies and ritual performances across the country.
And now, over 100 different types of ritual performances collected by experts and researchers from every corner of the country are being represented under the titles of the ceremonies of Kheimeha (tents) and Najvaha (murmurs).
Seven tents are set up for ten nights where the visitors are invited to get acquainted with the diverse rituals. Expert on history Kurosh Aliani will be narrating the event of Ashura every night in one tent.
Veteran teahouse painters Mohammad Farahani, Ali-Akbar Larani and Mansur Vafaii are displaying their narrations of the event. Teahouse paintings center mostly on epics and the events of Ashura.
The Tehran Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Alireza Shafaqinejad will be giving epic performances all these nights. The music is composed by Mohammad Haqgu and the poetry by Ramin Heidari-Faruqi. Gholamhossein Ghaffari will be singing the old tragic songs from Khorasan region.
Preparing food for the poor is one of the venerable traditions practiced in different regions with a diversity of food available during these days.
Abbas-Ali bread from Kashan is baked specifically on these days to hand out to the poor and it is well known among people. It is one of the traditional foods served in one of the tents during these nights. Other food from Gilan known as shir-berenj (food made of rice and milk with the sweet smell of rose water), and kolompeh (special cookie made with dates) from Kerman are also served.
The seventh tent will serve different traditional drinks such as milk and tea. Young morshed (mentor) Mohsen Mirza-Ali will be narrating the events of Ashura in pardeh-khani, which is dedicated to tragic stories of Muslim leaders, especially the Imams of the Shia.
Troupes coming from different regions will be singing the mourning songs of their regions on all of these nights.
Photo: An actor plays Shemr, the killer of Imam Hussein (AS), in a tazieh (passion play) during Ashura in Qom on January 7, 2009. He pours water before a newborn representing the Imam’s son, Ali-Asghar, who was killed in thirst. (Mehr/Amir Hesaminejad)