Saturday, December 26, 2009

Commemoration of Ashura...

welcoming Ashura
Salaam,
The day of Ashura for the new Islamic calendar 1431 Hejira will fall tomorrow, Sunday the 27th of December. In Iran, preparation for the commemoration of the auspicious day had already begun since the first week of Muharam, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Indeed a four-day weekend has been declared here and observed since last Thursday.
Ashura is commemorated by Iranian Shi'a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad SAW, at the battle of Karbala on 10 Muharam in the year 61 Hejira (680 AD).
Many of the events associated with Ashura are held in special congregation halls throughout the country known as "Imambargah" and "Hussainia."
Certain rituals like the traditional flagellation ritual and ceremonial chest beating are usually performed as a display of their devotion and to show solidarity with Imam Hussein and his family.
In addition, Ta'zieh, passion plays, poetic recitations such as marsiya, noha, latmiya and soaz are also performed in memory of the martyrdom of Hussein, lamenting and grieving to the tune of beating drums and chants of "Ya Hussein."
It is also customary for mosques and some Iranians to provide free meals called Niazz on certain nights of the month and also on the 9th day of Muharam, a day before the actual observance day. The Iranian called this day a Tashua day. On this day, some Iranian families have already started donating and providing free meals in the form of cooked rice and meat in packages, sweets and beverages to the people and particularly to the poor.
And fortunately for us, this morning we were kindly invited to participate and observe the Tashua rituals and ceremonies held at the residence of one of our staff members in the Darrous area of northern Tehran. We were very much impressed to see the close relationship existing among Iranian family members, how they prepared, shared and distributed their foods with the people, and more significantly their great hospitality and generousity towards their countrymen and women and foreign guests alike.
It was indeed such a great opportunity for us to experience Tashua with a Iranian family and community and to further understand and appreciate their rich religious customs and culture.
Kheyli motashakkeram...kheyli mamnoon to our dear host and hostess, and not least a special gratitude to Khanoum Moghadam and hubby for your great kindness and cordiality.
Wassalam.

banners with name of Hussein are all over the city

zanjeer zani or zanjeer matam performed on Tashua day...

women faithfuls and onlookers...


banners at the host residence...

400 kilos of rice...

of fragrance and saffron rice

with 400 kilos of lamb and beef...

with the kind hostess and her daughter


made into the ever popular and delicious Iranian cuisine...ghormeh sabze

prayer and recital before the distribution...



family members, neighbours and friends...joining hands

a special Iranian delicacy...

rice n ghormeh sabze...ready for distribution...

ta'zieh ritual...a period of intense grief and mourning

and a display of devotion to Hussein...

separate tent for the womenfolks...

with the kind and affable couple...

patiently waiting for their ghormeh sabze...!!

queue up for their foods...

getting ready for tomorrow..the day of Ashura

(Canon PowerShot G11)

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