(Part 3/8) 

A glimpse of Muharram mourning rituals across Iran: Bil Zani

August 21, 2020 - 20:30

One of the other Muharram rituals in South Khorasan province is Bil Zani. This is one of the ancient traditions that are on Iran’s national heritage list. Birjand and Khusf cities are the main centers for the ritual.

The ritual shows unity amongst the people of the city. They gather in a place to hold the mourning ceremony. Then they lift their bils (shovels) and move them in the air chanting the name of Imam Ali (AS), Heydar Ali, simultaneously.  This symbolic event reminds the procession ceremony of Imam Hussein (AS) companions during Ashura.

The origin

The ritual of Bil Zani, also called Bil Gardani, is a reminder of Banu Asad tribe. Three days after Ashura, Banu Asad tribe reached Karbala and encountered the bodies of Imam Hussein (AS) companions. Then they dig the earth with their shovels and bury them. Bil Gardani in South Khorasan province is a symbol of the event.

South Khorasan province is home to many historical and natural attractions such as Birjand Castle, Dragon Cave, Furg Citadel, and Polond Desert. It is also known for its famous rugs as well as its saffron and barberry which are produced in almost all parts of the province.


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