Tassoua in Iran

Tassoua, also known as Tasu'a or Tassoa, is a significant religious observance in Iran. This event is held on the 9th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is part of the annual mourning period for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

The date of Tassoua varies each year due to the nature of the Islamic lunar calendar, which is approximately 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. As a result, the date of Tassoua shifts by about 11 days each year.


The observance of Tassoua in Iran has deep historical roots and is closely tied to the events of the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. This battle saw the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his small group of followers, who were vastly outnumbered by the forces of the Umayyad Caliph Yazid I. The battle and its aftermath have been a central event in the history of Shia Islam, and the mourning period of Muharram, including Tassoua, serves as a time for Shiites to remember and honor the sacrifices made by Imam Hussain and his companions.


National customs for Tassoua in Iran

Tassoua is observed throughout Iran with various customs and rituals, many of which are shared across different regions of the country. On this day, Iranians participate in mourning processions known as "dasteh," where they march through the streets while chanting and beating their chests in a rhythmic manner. This act of mourning, called "sineh-zani," is accompanied by the recitation of elegies and lamentations for the fallen heroes of Karbala.

Another common practice during Tassoua is the distribution of free food and drink, particularly to the poor and needy. This act of charity, called "nazri," is performed in remembrance of the hunger and thirst that Imam Hussain and his followers faced during the battle.

Local customs for Tassoua in Iran

In addition to the national customs, there are also local variations in the observance of Tassoua across different regions of Iran. For example, in some areas, people participate in traditional passion plays called "ta'zieh," which reenact the events of the Battle of Karbala. These plays are performed by local actors and are often accompanied by a choir that sings mourning songs.

In other regions, people create elaborate displays called "alam," which are ornate standards or flags that represent the martyrs of Karbala. These alams are carried in processions and are often adorned with flowers, mirrors, and other decorative elements.


Tassoua in Iran is a deeply significant observance that commemorates the sacrifices made by Imam Hussain and his followers during the Battle of Karbala. Through various customs and rituals, such as mourning processions, passion plays, and acts of charity, Iranians come together to remember and honor the events that have shaped their religious and cultural identity.