Yazd will hold more than 100 special religious rituals, says provincial tourism chief

TEHRAN – Yazd will host more than a hundred special religious rituals in the following lunar months of Muharram and Safar to commemorate the murder of Imam Hussein (as), grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUP), said the provincial head of tourism.

“Yazd has long been a destination for many domestic and foreign tourists during the (lunar) months of Muharram and Safar, when many rituals and special mourning ceremonies were performed by local citizens,” Ahmad Akhoundi said on Tuesday.

“This year, special mourning programs are planned to acquaint (foreign) tourists with the religious ceremonies held during these two months, especially the days of Tasua and Ashura,” the official said.

Over the past decade, Yazd has been a major destination for foreign tourists on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram (Tasua and Ashura) when mourning ceremonies peak.

Vacationers can attend various ceremonies such as Tazieh, a passionate piece inspired by historical and religious stories, and Sineh-Zani [beating the chest]. They also converse with locals and religious figures while taking photos of mourners to document the events.

From a theological point of view, religious rituals are perhaps a recreation of collective memories that contribute to shaping what is called collective identity, the essential foundation of the feeling of belonging. One of these rituals is the mourning ceremony. Rich in symbolism, most of which has historical values, these ceremonies are a platform where common beliefs and ideas about life and death are recognized and, as people come together in grief and hope of consolation, they search for new meanings in life and reevaluate and confirm the basis of their beliefs.

Muharram and the following month, Safar (which includes the commemoration of the aftermath of Karbala) is a time of lamentation for Muslims. War and fighting are prohibited during Muharram and festivities like weddings and birthdays are usually postponed to more appropriate days. People usually wear black out of respect or at least avoid wearing very bright colors.

They say the fundamental meaning of Muharram goes beyond such mourning and commemoration of the past. Karbala was a real and metaphorical place where Truth faced Falsehood, where justice spoke vibrantly and audibly in the face of prejudice, and where courage, passion and devotion preceded attachment, worldliness and stubbornness.

The saga is told to tell us that compared to the Pyrrhic and momentary victory of injustice, integrity and honesty will always stand the test of time because today the life of Imam Hussein ( AS) is honored by millions of people around the world while the story of her enemies is almost lost in oblivion. History also lives to tell us that the majority is not always right. Though the army of Truth is small in number, it is always magnanimous in what it stands for.


Ruth R. Culp