Ancient festival of Pir-e Shaliar canceled due to virus

February 5, 2021 - 18:12

TEHRAN - Pir-e Shaliar, an ancient annual ceremony celebrating abundance and good fortune, has been called off due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The public ritual was supposed to be held, like previous years, on the 15th day of the month Bahman (February 3) in Uraman Takht rural district of Kordestan province, western Iran.

The annulment was announced by the governor of Sarvabad county upon the directive of a local committee for coronavirus control.

Pir-e Shaliar, a legendary folk figure for Iranian Kurds, is warmly remembered for his allegedly magical healing qualities and mojo that locals believe could populate the land with livestock and crops in times of trouble. The figure is associated with the pre-Islamic, Zoroastrian times.

The festival usually starts before dawn with children distributing walnuts as gifts, knocking on the villagers’ doors, and getting sweets from them in return.

Sheep and goats are slaughtered as the day breaks. Then several hours are spent cooking a special soup called ‘Veloshin’; meanwhile, people celebrate the event with blessings and prayers. The soup will be ultimately distributed amongst all villagers.

People come out from their terraced houses, which roof of one is the courtyard of another, to witness the ritual. Daf, a local drum, is played and the dervishes of the region gather to chant and dance while swaying their long hair through the air.

Before night, men meet in the house of Pir-e Shaliar and continue their ritual of chanting prayers and playing the dafs to pay their ultimate tribute to the legendary figure of the region.

The legend says that Pir-e Shaliar magically cured ‘Shah-Bahar Khatoun’ the beloved daughter of the king of Bukhara so that he was rewarded with getting married to the girl.

Uraman region is considered a cradle of Kurdish art and culture from the days of yore. Stretched on a steep slope of Sarvabad county, the village is home to dense and step-like rows of houses in a way that the roof of each house forms the yard of the upper one, a feature that adds to its charm and attractiveness.

AFM/

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