Friday, January 18, 2008
The first day of the Hejira new year marks the beginning of `Ashoura, ten days of mourning in remembrance of Imam Hussein, son of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, whose followers founded Shi'ism. It culminates on the tens day with passion plays to reenact the massacre of Hussein and his followers by Yazid Ibn Mu`awiya, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty. The `Ashoura play is a bloody and messy affair with much chest beating. The ten days of `Ashoura are also the occasion for making and distributing hreeseh, a stew of meat and wheat cooked in large pots right in the streets. Passers-by are handed plates to eat and remember the soul of Hussein. It is made in the villages, but also in the Shi'a neighborhoods of Beirut. Rana Hayek reports on hreeseh in `Ashoura in Beirut's Khandak al Ghameek neighborhood, with photo.