Food is an inseparable part of any Iranian holiday, festival or even the day of mourning! And moharram is no exception. During the first ten days of moharram after the evening prayer (i.e. after sunset) in the streets of Tehran you can see numerous tents where you can get tea with sugar, dates or sweets absolutely for free.
Some people, who are patient enough, visit so-called “heyats” where a mullah tells the story of Ashura and then the attendees get free food.
When a family gets into trouble, for example, a child gets sick badly, the family prays and promises to God that if the child gets well, they will give free food to people during the first 10 days of moharram for like 10 years or even more. Some, not-so-well-off people promise to give tea or something. Sometimes several people open up a tent, but any of them has to buy the tea and everything just for one night.
But some people are trying to get advantage of this. During these 10 days they line up in front of “heyats” waiting for free food to come. Some of them don`t even take a trouble to attend the praying part. Others bring pots if “ash” (Iranian kind of soup) is given out. On the last day of mourning (the day of Ashura) which is the culmination of the whole event, at lunch time you can see lines of 20, 30 or even 50 people waiting for food. And be sure they are not homeless or poor or anything like that.
It was the 8th day of moharram… In the next post see what happens on its culmination – the day of Ashura!