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Fervent and Spiritual Mourning


“A look at mourning ceremony and Tazieh[1]  in Markazi province”

From the first day of Muharram month until the day of Arbaeen[2], mourning ceremonies are held at most of the Markazi province’s mosques, Takiehs [3] and Hosseiniehs, and everyone pays the costs of these ceremonies as much as he/she can afford. In the days of Ashura and Tasua, mourners attend mosques and Takiehs or go to the streets in groups. Making vows to wear black in the month of Muharram, walking barefoot at the time of mourning and holding mourning ceremonies on the third and fourth day of Imam Hossein (AS)’s martyrdom all demonstrate the fondness of the Markazi province’s pious people for the Household of the great Prophet (SA) and Imam Hossein (AS).


Just in the day of Ashura, people whether in Fam or Tarkhoran, two districts of the city of Tafresh, provide a Nakhl and turn it around. The Nakhls of the districts of “Mian-Deh” and “Sheshnav” every other year are brought out to be turned around. That is, if this year, it is the turn of Mian-Deh to turn the Nakhl, the other year it is the turn of Sheshnav to do so. Tazieh is also performed in turn by the people of these districts. In the day of Ashura, Nakhl is moved in front of the religious bodies towards Imamzade Muhammad (AS) and is returned back to the Takieh at sunset. The Nakhl of “Zaghram” district is moved around just in the same district and then, it is returned back to the Takieh. This Nakhl is moved outside the district just in the 28th of Safar and 21st of Ramadan; people take this Nakhl to Imamzade Mashhad and return it back to Takieh after the mourning. In Mahalat district, Nakhl is like an arched small room that is fastened together by wooden poles at the bottom and it is covered with a cloth. Nakhl is always maintained at mosque or Husseinieh. Each of these poles belongs to a person or a tribe and boys inherit it from their fathers. Nakhl in the day of Ashura is brought out and each person who is sometimes the representative of a tribe carries one of the poles of the Nakhl on his shoulder. In “Nimvar” district too, a Nakhl is put in a small room that is called “Pa-Nakhl”.

In the city of Mahalat, the day in which Nakhl and other signs of mourning are prepared is named “Alam-Bandan”. Nakhl is moved in front of the mourner groups. In the past, somebody with clothes like chador around his neck moved in front of the Nakhl and people filled it with confetti and cookie. Then, they put some of this confetti in a cloth and fastened this cloth to the Nakhl and in the 11th day of Muharram, they gave it as holy confetti to people. People of Naraqeh have a strong belief in the move of Nakhl. Therefore, in the day of Ashura, they move Nakhls to the mosque and decorate them with green, red and black cloths. Then, they move Nakhl towards where religious bodies have gathered. Nakhls are moved in front the Qibla and behind the mourner groups; on each of the Nakhl, a person sits and eulogizes Ahlulbiet (AS)  and narrates their tragedy. In addition to Nakhl, in the day of Ashura, a litter is moved in front of Nakhls. A person disguises himself as a lion and sits on the throne; in fact, it reminds the lion of the grove in the day of Ashura that looked after the martyrs of the Karbala desert. This lion beats on its head with a stone and indicates how mournful it is. A pigeon flapping before the lion is trapped too. The acts of the lion and the flapping of the pigeon indicate animals are in mourning too.

“Tasua and Ashura”

In the morning of Tasua and in Takiehs across the cities, the mourning ceremonies special for Hazret Abbas (AS) are held and with the sheep and cows which have been sacrificed by people, mourners are feed at Takiehs. These ceremonies continue until night. In day of Ashura too, in all Takiehs in Fam district, the mourning ceremonies special for Imam Hossein (AS) are held. In the morning of Ashura, the mourners in Mashhad district move in groups and go to the Takiehs in the districts of Sheshnav, Khalachan, Mian-Deh and Zaghram and along with the other mourners from these districts, they follow the Nakhl of Sheshnav or Mian-Deh and go towards Imamzade located at Mashhad district. In this day, in front of Nakhl, people sacrifice animals and distribute votive offerings among people. In the city of Nimvar and in the day of Ashura, people bake bread named “Looloo-Abbasi” which is made of milk and sugar. The baking of this kind of bread is usually an inborn ritual in families. Today, sacrificing a sheep has replaced the tradition of baking bread in many families.

In the east of Naraq district, Tasua day is called Abbas Ali. For this reason, in this day, the bread named “Abbas Ali” is baked in remembrance of Hazret Abbas (AS) and is distributed among the mourners. (“Abbas Ali” bread is a kind of thick bread which is made of flour, milk, sugar and Saffron). In this day, a ceremony in commemoration of Hazret Qasem (AS) is held in this city too. In this ceremony, a symbolic bride chamber is carried; it is a palanquin decorated with green velvet and silk on which children sit and mourn. Hazret Qasem (AS) was newlywed at that time. The day after Ashura is called the Sixth Day in Naraq city. People perform Tazieh in this day and don’t hold any other mourning ceremony until the forth day of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS).


At this night, people light candles in remembrance of the burned tents of Imam Hossein (AS) and his companions; bare-footed mourners go out of Takiehs and Husseinieh. Then, they stand round in a circle and mourn for Imam Hossein (AS).

“The third day of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS)”

In Mahalat city, in this day, a group of people with spade and hack in their hands walk in streets; this group is named as “Bani-Asad” (according to traditions, three days after the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS) and his companions, a group from Bani-Asad tribe buried the holy bodies of the Karbala martyrs).


Two months before Muharram month, neighboring people hold some sessions at their houses; first, the general policy on holding mourning ceremonies is adopted, and then, the suggestions are considered and everyone’s responsibilities are determined. One of the cases which should be determined is the selection of Shabih-Khan[6]. Every year, Shabih-Khani enthusiasts with various motivations visit the managers of Tazieh. After survey, the qualified people are selected. Out of these people, the most skilled one is selected as Shah who reads the prescriptions. The manager of Tazieh prepares all groups according to the list and they perform their plays to the end of the days of mourning. In all days when Tazieh is performed, these agents and groups are present.


[1] Iranian passion plays

[2] The fourth day of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS)

[3] The places in which mourning ceremonies for Imam Hossein (AS) are held in the month of Muharram

[4] “Palm-turning”, a kind of mourning held in Muharram

[5] the evening following the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS)

[6] The person who performs a role in Tazieh


Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 13:18

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