Tasu’a and Ashu’ra in Khorramabad, Western Iran Every year in Khorramabad, Lorestan, in western Iran, people spend these two days lamenting the tragedy of Hussein Ibn Ali, the third Shiite Imam (and the prophet Muhammad’s grandson). This tradition is one of the most magnificent mourning rituals in Iran. The ritual called “Chehel Menbar” or “Forty Pulpits” is native to Khorramabad. During this ritual, which is held in Tasua in memory of her ladyship Zeinab, the prophet’s granddaughter, women and kids of Khorramabad start from Baaghe Dokhtaran (or the girls’ garden), walk barefoot to 40 mosques and light 40 candles while waiting for their prayers to come true. During this ritual, people take a vow of silence; they only break their vows to recite “Allah Akbar” (“God is Great”) and to praise and greet God, Muhammad and his descendants. On the second day, in the morning of Ashura, the mourners attend the ritual of “Gel Ooftan” or “Gel Malan”. During this ritual, people mix rosewater with sifted soil to make mud. They rub their bodies and clothes with the mud; then they dry the mud on their bodies near blazing fire. Then crowds of people who are covered with soil walk the streets of Khorramabad barefoot and mourn the tragedy of the martyr of martyrs. This ritual continues until noon.
Hashem Shakeri was born in Tehran, Iran in 1988. He studied architecture in TAFE (New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission of Australia) and also participated in the Photography Foundation Program at the same university. He began practicing photography in 2007 and started a professional career in documentary photography in 2010. Since then he has been working as a freelance on arrange of commissions and private projects in Iran, Turkey, Korea and Malaysia. His main concern in documentary photography is to explore human relations and social justice. Through his photography, he tries to depict the lost identity of the modern man/woman. Hashem Shakeri has been working as a photojournalist for various Iranian news agencies and newspapers since 2008. He has taken part in 50 national and international festivals and has won more than ten awards. His works have been published in numerous publications around the world and he has been a member of the Iranian Photographers Society since 2010. He has also had experience in making feature films and documentaries, in one of which (“Aura”) he worked as the director of photography.
All pictures are copyright © by Hashem Shakeri