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
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
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
Chelkowski pointed out Indian Ta'ziyehs feature the artistic
recreation of the Imam Hussein shrine which Indians believe has a
Indians are also mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, wearing white
shirts contrary to Iran where people are wearing dark shirts, the US
On the role of Ta'ziyehs in the Caribbean Basin, Chelkowski said it
was brought to the region by Indian guest workers.
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 many years prior to
the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
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what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you."MORE