The saghaii ritual

One of the most ancient customs of mourning ceremonies in Iran, which continues today on the day of Tâsu'â and Âshurâ of Hossein, is the saghaii rite (lit: one who offers to drink) of the inhabitants of Hamedân. On this occasion the men dress in black and with the cup in hand and the clothes covered with mud, in the streets they express their pain. Participants in the rite are a few groups of protesters who still wear mourning clothes and recite the zehr. On the day of Âshurâ they fill the bowls and special containers used by the dervishes, symbol of the flask of the brother of Imam Hossein, with red apples which are the offerings of those who had requests and whose wishes have come true. Among other customs on the night before Tâsu'â there is the one that in honor of Abbâs (A) bread and yogurt are offered to charity and in the morning of the Âshurâ in honor of Ali Asghar (A) warm milk is distributed.

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