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: the one who offers to drink) of the inhabitants of Hamedân. On this occasion men dress in black and with the cup in their hands and clothes covered with mud, in the streets they express their pain. The 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 vessels used by the dervishes, symbol of the water bottle of Imam Hossein's brother, with red apples which are the offerings of those who had requests and whose wishes were fulfilled. Among the other customs on the night before Tâsu'â there is the one that in honor of Abbâs (A) bread and yoghurt is offered in charity and on the morning of the Ashurâ in honor of Ali Asghar (A) hot milk is distributed.

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