Ashura Mourning

Kouh-e-Kamar, Marand, East Azerbaijan Province, Iranian 2018

Kouh-e-Kamar is a village near the Armenia- Azerbaijan border in which aproximately 900 Azerbaijani Shia Muslims live. For the Shia Muslims, Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram (Muharram Month) and a ritual that aims to commemorate the death of Husayn ibn Ali , grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala. In this mourning day, condolence’s houses are prepared, poems are sung out loud, animals are sacrificed for poor people and prays are chanted. Shia Muslims wear dark colored mourning clothes. Starting Ashura day, they keep away from entertainment during 2 months. Only in this region, Shia Men wear white shroud for showing willingly to sacrifice their life for Husayn ibn Ali in Ashura day. Although it was forbidden by the government; Men wearing white shroud cut their head with sword or knife symbolically as a traditional ritual.

Mourning field; The people making a circle by giving them shoulder to shoulder in the mourning place, rotate until the hour of Imam Hussein’s death.

To donate gifts In the day of Ashura, donations are collected for the organisation costs and the poor. While collecting gifts, poems are sung about Iman Hussein. There is a sorrow and a flood of emotion magisterially on the atmosphere.

The child on the horse with flag; In the field of mourning in Kouh-e-Kamar and the village, horsemans with green flag representing Imam Hussein’s army ride around. Pieces of fabric brought from the Karbela battlefield are used as flag or on the horses.

Sacrifice; For the Shia Muslims, one should sacrifice an animal to thank God in case realization of their wishes. This sacrife is a sheep. On the day of Tasu’a and Ashura, one portion is distributed as a relief food to the poor people and the rest is cooked with rice to eat with the people of the village together.

Running Child;
“Imam Ali is the messenger of Allah” in Persian is written on the flag in the hands of the child. Imam Ali is the first Imam of the Shia Muslims and the father of the Imam Hussein. Therefore, this flag is used often in mourning days .

Wearing shroud ;
To show their bravery for sacrificing their own body for Imam Hussein, people wear white shrouds and represent slaughtered people at the battle of Karbala

On the day and at the time Imam Hussein was killed,children, youngs and elders wearing white shroud to represent for sharing same suffer with Imam Hussein hit their own heads by edge of the swords or knifes and shed own blood. Because this self-flagellation ritual was forbidden by the government, public do not allow to be taken photograph. If there are government officials at the mourning field, this ritual is performed in secret places.

The blood on the ground;
In this photo, after the act of self-flagellation by sword, we have seen the ground covered with human blood.