Muharram in Yazd
In Yazd province, people pay tribute to Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his loyal followers in the first lunar month of Muharram in a special way.
All neighborhoods hold memorial services in Husseiniehs. The people dressed in black recite elegies and hit their hands on their chests to show their deep sorrow and grief.
Preachers and clerics remind people of the tragedy faced by Imam Hussein (AS) and his followers. This usually begins on the first day of Muharram and lasting from 10 days to a whole month.
Not only do Muslims attend these ceremonies, but the Zoroastrians also take part in mourning for Imam Hussein (AS).
As the days pass, the people become more and more sad, as they approach Tasua and Ashoura (the 9th and 10th of Muharram) when they reach the climax of mourning.
In Yazd, some people, in fulfilling a vow, cook a special wheat potage called Ash-e-Gandom and distribute it among people for free.
The people also carry a huge wooden structure called Nakhl (meaning palm tree) that is shaped like a leaf and decorated with special emblems. The people gather around the Nakhl, light candles and recite elegies in remembrance of the martyrs of Karbala in Iraq where the martyrdom took place.
The people call it Nakhl perhaps because of its Mesopatamian origin--it resembles cypress and eternity that are reminiscent of Imam Hissein’s (AS) traits.
A few days before the holy month of Muharram approaches, people start covering the massive structure with different items such as flags, tassels, large feathers and emblems handed down from generation to generation.
The huge structure is covered with a black cloth, on which swords are also placed.
A local man who is a descendent of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) sits on the top of the structure to lead the crowd that lifts the structure. When the people lift the massive structure, they seek help by calling “O Hussein”.
When the people move the wooden structure in the large courtyard, others recite verses of Holy Qur’an or the call for prayer to the sound of traditional instruments.
All the people taking part in lifting the huge wooden structure are barefoot and those watching them recite elegies lamenting the martyrdomof Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions.
(Source: Iran Daily)