Muharram is the first month of the lunar Islamic calendar in which occurred the battle of Karbala. Muharram is one of the four sacred months of Islam and unlawful acts, such as fighting and bloodshed are forbidden during it. The tenth day of Muharram, which is known by The day of Ashura marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH) and 72 of his loyal companions. This festival is also celebrated as a cultural ceremony, not just a religious one. During this time, the Shiite don black attire and participate in mourning gatherings such as Ta’zieh, Nohe, Nakhl Gardani, Alam procession, Sham-e Ghariban etc. The death of Imam Hussein (PBUH) is considered by the Shia community as a symbol of humanity's struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression.


It is like a food charity known as Nazri. Many Iranian people cook foods as Ghorme Sabzi, Shole zard in enormous copper pots over wood-burning fires, and then serve them for free.

Sham-e Ghariban:

It means the night of strangers and takes place at sunset of the day of Ashura, in memory of the family of Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his companions, remained tired and hungry in the Karbala desert, sitting in solitude for the whole night, thinking of their loved ones, lost in the unjust battle. Lighting candles is the particular custom of this night.

Nakhl gardani or Alam gardani:

is one of the rituals of Muharram, in which some men put a large palm on their shoulders and carry it around the city reciting religious verses. Nakhl or Alam is a wooden or metal structure decorated with colorful silk shawls, precious fabric, mirrors, lanterns, etc.; flowers and green branches are also added for ornamentation.


It is a type of traditional theater which recreate the battle of Karbala and the suffering and martyrdom of Imam Hossein by the hands of Yazid. This theatrical representation is done in a public place so all people can see it.

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