7th Arbaeen Pilgrimage Intl. Theater Festival set to begin at Iranian borders

TEHRAN- The 7th edition of the Arbaeen Pilgrimage International Theater Festival will commence at the Iranian borders with Iraq on Wednesday, the director of the Art Bureau's Center for Dramatic Arts Kurosh Zarei said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Organized by Iran’s Art Bureau, the festival will be held in both countries of Iran and Iraq, coinciding with the large gathering of Shia Muslims in Iraq.

"The upcoming edition of the festival has been meticulously planned to surpass all previous editions as we have organized performances for the pilgrims at the Shalamcheh, Khosrovi, Chazabeh, Bashmagh, and Mehran borders," said Zarei.

In addition, there are several troupes of performers set to perform tazieh, as well as Naqqali (Iranian dramatic story-telling), and Pardeh-khani (a type of storytelling combined with a laudation, accompanied by pictures) in Najaf, Karbala, and along the path of the Arbaeen Walk, he noted.

This year, a special puppet theater production about Imam Hussein's (AS) six-month-old baby boy, Ali Asghar (AS), who was the youngest martyr on Ashura, is being presented for children in Persian and Arabic languages named "The Little Hero", he mentioned.

This addition was made in response to the need for child-friendly content that was lacking in previous editions, he said and added: “This cultural movement can be considered as a gift from Iranian children’s theater activists, who are deeply devoted to showcasing tazieh and mourning rituals.”

Additionally, two anthem groups will also be performing in Arabic, he added.

“Given the scorching temperatures we are experiencing this year, the performances are set to commence at dusk, right in front of the holy shrines, and will continue until midnight.”

The festival aims to promote the rich culture of sacrifice and martyrdom, ensuring that younger generations and Muslims from across the globe become acquainted with this remarkable heritage, he stated.

“After seven years of performing various Iranian mourning rituals and performing arts during the Arbaeen pilgrimage, we are now witnessing the impact of these performances on Iraqi artists who are now incorporating these kinds of performances into their own work,” he concluded.

The festival will be held in close collaboration with Khuzestan’s Art Bureau and Arvand Free Trade Zone Organization.

The themes of the festival, which will continue until September 5 in both Iran and Iraq, include the uprising of Ashura, the culture of Ashura and the Islamic Revolution, and the character of Imam Hussein (AS) and his loyal companions.

Works on the historical events related to Muharram and Ashura, narratives and historical stories related to Arbaeen walk, and martyrs Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis could also participate at the festival.

Works in forms of tazieh (Iranian passion play), Naqqali (Iranian dramatic story-telling), Pardeh-khani (a type of storytelling combined with a laudation, accompanied by pictures), song, poem recitation, visual arts, videos, and short films could submit to the festival.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians embark on a journey to the Iraqi city of Karbala to observe the holy day of Arbaeen at the holy shrines of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Imam of the Shia, and his brother, Hazrat Abbas (AS).

Arbaeen, which will be observed on September 6 this year, marks the end of the 40-day mourning period following the martyrdom of the Imam and his loyal companions on Ashura.


Source: Tehran Times