Moharram Holy Week of Mourning

In keeping with Shiraz's troubled history, the festival of Moharram, the Holy Week of Mourning, commiserates the legendary leader Imam Hussain who died a thousand years ago.

image: ashura festival, shirazFestival Essentials

Where: Shiraz, Iran
When
: Depending on Islamic calendar, currently falling around March
What happens: Shi’ite muslims beat themselves with flagellation whips to remember the suffering of Hussain
Remember to Bring: Your own whip

Where it’s at

Shiraz in Iran is a good stopping off point for trips into the deserts of southern Iran and the ruins at Persepolis. It’s a friendly and easygoing city with wide tree-lined avenues and great shopping. Shiraz is famous for it’s wine, textiles and Persian rugs. It is an attractive modern city; despite calamitous floods, pestilence, famine and earthquakes the city has remarkably survived.

Moharram Week of Mourning

In keeping with Shiraz’s troubled history, the festival of Moharram, the Holy Week of Mourning, commiserates the legendary leader Imam Hussain who died a thousand years ago. This Shi’ite muslim practice involves the disciplinary and devotional practice of beating with flagellation whips, a purification to drive out evil spirits, a form of sadism. Moharram remembers those who were kept starved and hungry in the desert of Karbala.

During Ashura, the biggest day of the Moharram festival, devotees smash themselves with chains to feel some of the pain that the ancient leader Hussain felt when he was alive.

Flagellation whips can be purchased, in single or multiple strands for less pain and even version for children are up for grabs from any good market stall during the Holy Week.

 

MORE INFORMATION

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By Susi O’Neill

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