Traditions of Ramadan still practiced in East Azarbaijan

September 19, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- The people of each region have their own customs which reveal the cultural identity of their locality, and their traditions for the holy month of Ramadan are rooted in their national and religious beliefs.

For example, the two traditions of qabakhlama and kisehduzi are still seriously practiced in Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province.
Ali Falsafi, the anthropology expert of the East Azarbaijan Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department, told the Mehr News Agency in Tabriz that the Azari people get prepared for the month of Ramadan several weeks in advance.
Falsafi said, “People begin to clean their houses and sweep up the mosques so that everywhere is clean to welcome the holy month. This tradition is called qabakhlama.
“In some regions of Azarbaijan, on the first day of Ramadan, people go to the houses of ulema and religious figures and congratulate them on the arrival of the holy month.
“On the second night married couples usually go to their parents’ houses and have iftar (break their fast) there.
“Serving iftar is also a custom among Azaris. The guests are usually invited even before the beginning of Ramadan. The iftar spreads are also interesting and very special, and Azari women try to give the best iftar. Soup, various kinds of rice and stew, kabob and chicken, as well as different kinds of deserts, cookies, jam, and salad are seen on the spreads. Dates are a must for iftar.
“But sahari (the meal before dawn) is quite simple. People usually eat bread, cheese, butter, yogurt, and tea. Tea is a must.”
In his book Ramadan in the Culture of the People, Ebrahim Haqparast writes that in some of the villages of East Azarbaijan near the cities of Shabestar, Maragheh, and Ahar, the tradition of kisehduzi is popular.
“On the last Thursday or Friday of Ramadan women get together and each family sews a small purse. They put some money inside the purse, read some prayers, and then blow on the purse. Then they place the purse in an old chest at home. The purse is called the ‘purse of blessing’ and people believe that they will never experience poverty in the future (due to the purse),” reads part of the book.
Caption: A woman decorates the bowls of sholleh-zard, a dessert dish consisting of rice, sugar, saffron, and fat, to distribute them to people to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan.