Splendid story of Pir Shalyar rituals in Kurdistan

July 4, 2011 - 14:34
SANANDAJ -- Hawraman is a spectacular mountainous region lying between the Kurdish cities of Paveh and Mariwan in western Iran.
The word Hawraman is a compound noun: “Hawra” that means Ahura and “Man” which means the place, home, or land and Hawraman means the land of Ahuramazda or the place of Ahuramazda.
Hawraman in the Kurdish language means the land of sun.
One of the outstanding features distinguishing this region from other areas is its rocky and mountainous nature with its breathtaking architecture including historical villages, ancient castles and religious temples with different delicate native structure.
Pir (saint/magi) Shalyar is one of the historical temples being located among them. According to historians and local residents, Pir Shalyar was Jamasb’s son and Jamasb was one of the Zoroastrian spiritual leaders who lived in Hawraman.
The strange story, which is actually a miracle, is on the life of Shah Bahar Khatoon, the daughter of Bukhara’s king, who was deaf and dumb. The king had announced whoever treats his daughter he could marry her and it was Pir Shalyar who eventually could heal Shah Bahar Khatoon and they got married.
Upon hearing that Pir Shalyar has cured the prince, people from all walks of life rushed to celebrate the auspicious occasion in Hawraman region.
Even today after the lapse more than nine centuries ceremonies are held on the anniversary of their wedding. Ceremonies are celebrated two times in a year: in the middle of spring and winter.
The festival of Pir Shalyar is an old traditional ceremony in Kurdistan. It is held in the 40th day of winter. The celebration is held in three stages, each in a day of three consecutive weeks.
Pir Shalyar, is the highest rank in Mithraism and Zoroastrianism.
In the first week children inform the people coming of the ceremony with distribution of walnuts to every home.
In the second week, at the Wednesday night before sunrise, children going up to the roof of homes, sing the traditional Kurdish songs. Shortly after sunrise cows and sheep are sacrificed. At the evening they play “Daf” and pray repeating spiritual hymns.
In the third Friday of the month Rebendan (second month of winter in Kurdish calendar), golden breads made of wheat and walnut in the shape of sun (disc) are brought to the shrine of Pir and distributed among participants and eaten.
People from inside and outside the country attend Pir Shalyar ceremony twice a year. In this rapidly changing world Pir Shalyar has preserved its deep-rooted traditions and customs.
The ceremony includes sacrificing cattle, playing “daf”, all kinds of Kurdish mass dances, serving cheshin (a kind of local soup), vigil and reading poems and prayers. The ceremony lasts three days. In the morning of the first day, cattle raisers who have decided to sacrifice cattle in the celebration take their cattle to Pir Shalyar’s Garden.
After slaughtering the cattle they distribute pieces of meat among people and use some of it for preparing food for the feast: The same way that it was done 950 years ago. Marriage anniversary of Pir Shalyar is an ancient ceremony that promotes brotherhood, unity and collaboration to solve the inhabitants’ problems.
After a long period, this ceremony has undergone minor changes, however, its mythological roots and symbols have survived until today.
Komsa is a mysterious part of this ceremony that is held in the middle of spring and the locals believe it could help them solve their problems.
There is a stone in the Garden of Pir Shalyar and people take pieces of it as tabarok (a sacred thing) to heal themselves.
(Serva Rezaei contributed to the article)