Nazri, the gift of giving food during Ashura
Ahsura, the tenth day of the Arabic calendar month of Muharram, people across Tehran and Iran cook food for their neighbours and surrounding populations as part of tradition of Nazri (free food).
Shiite Muslims worldwide are commemorating the most important days in their faith’s history during the month of the Islamic calendar, known as Muharram.
As is common within Islam, distributing free food to honour the sacrifice of others is a mainstay ritual of Ashura.
The Holy Day of Ashura, marking the tenth day of Muharram, holds special significance within Islam. For Shias, the holy day of Ashura holds additional significance to the extent that it highlights a centrality of Shia faith. It marks the ten-day siege of Karbala, and the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet (PBUH), and his followers at the historic battle.
Kiosks and stalls are set up across the capital, with more than 14,000 “hayats” officially registered making food and drink offerings including tea and fruit juices.
Everyone in Iran takes part in the rituals with even non-Muslims residents often being included in the events with neighbours knocking on their doors offering food.
Over the years, the tradition of giving Nazri food to locals and denizens has taken on a more industrial characteristic with companies, employers and organisations offering the food to those who accept it.
In the capital, families on different streets and alleyways of Tehran make several foods, often different stews or rice dishes as well to give to their immediate neighbours.
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However, if you feel like you are not desperate for food, you can always support the regular restaurants.