In the courtyard of the Qom mosque, actors reenact the battle of Kerbala, the founding event of Shiism. The faceless character is Hossein, beheaded by the Sunnites, and the kid is his son Ali, one of the few to survive the bloodbath. 1,150 years later, Iranians still cry upon hearing the name Kerbala. But this narrative, enriched by the fertile imagination of the best storytellers in the country, has also been exploited by the power to root the collective feeling of Iran being the permanent victim of foreign powers, the true Shiite believers thus suffering until the day the Imam Mehdi returns back from his occultation at 5 years old, eleven centuries ago.
Procession for the Ashoura at the market of Tehran.
Procession for the Ashoura in a mosque in the south of Tehran.
In the midst of the crowd observing the festive procession of the Ashoura at Qom.
In the mosque of Qom, the crowd is lamenting at the Arbaïn, the 40th day of the martyr of Imam Hossein 1150 years ago.
VIDEO : To commemorate the martyr of Hossein, the Iranians, here at Qom, go for broke carrying an immense buck of 150 to 200 kilos.