Eulogist observes symbolic social distancing in Muharram mourning

August 22, 2020 - 20:36

TEHRAN - Iranian eulogist Mahmoud Karimi, known for his enthusiastic eulogies for Shia Imams (AS) and their households, conducted a mourning ceremony in a working-class neighborhood in downtown Tehran on August 20, 2020.

Karimi managed to symbolically observe social distancing rules contrary to routine Muharram rituals where attendees are usually jam-packed. His initiative was called a “Mobile Tekyeh” by some mourners talking to the Tehran Times.  

During Muharram, a part from mosques, each neighborhood sets up its own establishment for the ceremonial processions of the month known as Tekyeh (or Tekkiyeh), which are venues for gathering of mourners known as ‘heyat’ (literally meaning group or delegation) who honor the life of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions who were martyred in the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE.

Tekkiyeh (stemming from the word eteka, meaning backup or reliable) was historically a staying place for visiting pilgrims and dervishes who relied on the goodness of the benefactors for daily sustenance. Today Tekkiyehs, however, are specific locations for mourners who meet and participate in religious gathering after which they head out on the streets in groups known as dasteh (literally meaning cluster) to parade a dramatic mourning.


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