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Shia Rituals

Shia Rituals

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Published by: api-3810515 on Oct 18, 2008
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Shia rituals including Ta'ziyeh discussed by US historian
By: Anjum Kermani
BERLIN, Germany: A two-day symposium on the trans-regional transfer of popular Shia beliefs and rituals, began in
Berlin on Wednesday evening November 28, concluded on Thursday.
A focal point of the opening session hosted by the Berlin-based Center for Culture and Language Research, was the
cultural transfer of the Shiite Muslim passion play, Moharram, to India and the Caribbean region.

According to Peter Chelkowski who is a leading US Mideast historian at New York University, the Ta'ziyeh which
symbolizes the heroic martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS) was also taken over by Hindu-dominated Indians as well as
parts of the Caribbean basin.

The word Ta'ziyeh literally means expressions of sympathy, mourning and consolation.
As a dramatic form it has its origins in the Moharram procession marking Hussein's martyrdom and throughout its
evolution the representation of the siege and carnage at Karbala has remained its centerpoint.
Chelkowski pointed out Indian Ta'ziyehs feature the artistic recreation of the Imam Hussein shrine which Indians
believe has a healing function.
Indians are also mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, wearing white shirts contrary to Iran where people are
wearing dark shirts, the US scholar added.
On the role of Ta'ziyehs in the Caribbean Basin, Chelkowski said it was brought to the region by Indian guest
One month a year, large and small-scale Ta'ziyehs are taking place in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad, mostly at the
beach front, he added.
Many Hindus, based in Trinidad, are also attending the Ta'ziyehs, noted Chelkowski who lived and studied in Iran for

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