People, Travel

Mourning Rituals in Culture Houses

Mourning Rituals in Culture HousesMourning Rituals in Culture Houses

Ta’zye is the mourning and commemoration of the deceased.  It’s about condolences, consolations, and asking after fellow friends and relatives who share in our grief. In Iran, however, ta’zye involves a passion play, where certain narratives of the historical Battle of Karbala are performed, and forms an important part of the religious mourning rituals of the month of Muharram (which this year commenced October 26).

In ta’zye, the artistic recitation of verses is paramount and supersedes the physical act of performance.  It is thus sometimes referred to as ‘ta’zye-khani’ which means ta’zye-recitation.

The ritualistic plays are an important part of Iranians and Iranian culture.  

These rituals and religious observances are a vital feature of this month of mourning and need to be observed by anyone traveling to Iran.

This year, many cities around the country are holding special programs in honor of this religiously significant month. Donya-e Eqtesad has introduced some of ta’zye performances to be held in Tehran.

  Arasbaran Culture House

After years of apprenticeship under masters of ta’zye performance, Amir Zeynali has gathered a group, with whom he had previously performed throughout the country, and is now going on stage in the Arasbaran Culture House to perform the following plays:  Invitation of Kufis and Martyrdom of Hani ibn Urwa, Martyrdom of Muslim ibn Aqeel (A.S.), Muslim’s Children, Martyrdom of Hurr ibn  Yazid Riahi, Martyrdom of Wahab Nasrani, Martyrdom of Ali Akbar (A.S.),  Martyrdom of Qasim ibn Hassan (A.S.),  Martyrdom of Abulfazl Abbas (A.S.), Martyrdom of Imam Hossein (A.S.),  Bazaar-e Sham and Martyrdom of Roqaye (S.A.).

The plays start at 8 pm each night until November 4. Arasbaran Culture House is on Jolfa Street, north of Seyed-Khandan Bridge.

  Khavaran Culture House

Ta’zye performances of Khavaran Culture House are supervised by Rajabali Moeenian and Morteza Namakian. The programs include Qays ibn Musahir, Martyrdom of Muslim (A.S.), Martyrdom of Hurr, Martyrdom of Qasim (A.S.), Martyrdom of Ali Akbar (A.S.), Martyrdom of Abbas (A.S.), Martyrdom of Imam Hossein (A.S.), Sack of the Tents, Bazaar-e Sham, and Infamy of Yazid.

Khavaran Culture House is located near Khorasan Square, east Tehran.


  Park-e Shahr

Park-e Shahr ‘City Park’ hosts ritual programs on the theme of Ashura, the day Imam Hossein (A.S.) was martyred. According to the cultural officials of the park, the programs are aimed at creating awareness about the unique historical incident of Karbala, which has brought about the Ashura Culture.

Until November 2, various recitation rituals will be conducted in the park. There are also exhibitions of photos and books from 4 to 5 pm.

The event takes place at the public hall of Park-e Shahr Central Library by Behesht Street, Hafez Avenue, Park-e Shahr.

  Niavaran Culture House

Under the leadership of Alaodin Qasemi, ta’zye artists perform mourning rituals each night starting at 8:30 pm until November 4. The program is supported by artistic deputy of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Niavaran Culture House is located west of Niavaran Park, north Tehran.

  Tehran City Theater

Tehran City Theater hosts ta’zye performances supervised by master of the art Ahmad Azizi. The programs include recitations, performances of the raconteur Mohsen Mirza-Ali on November 2-4, and senj and dammam performance by leadership of Hadi Lashgari on November 2-7. Ta’zye performances will be held until November 7. They include Muslim (A.S.), Martyrdom of Hurr, Martyrdom of Ali Akbar (A.S.), Martyrdom of Qasim (A.S.), Martyrdom of Abulfazl (A.S.), Martyrdom of Imam Hossein (A.S.), Bazaar-e Sham, Shah-Cheraq and Motevakel ibn Abbasi.

Tehran City Theater is located at the junction of Enqelab and Vali-Asr streets.

  Razi Park

The narrative of ‘Sun on Spear’ is played as a ta’zye performance in Razi Park each evening until November 4. The park is located in Qazvin Street.