Accepted paper:

The Diversity of Mourning Ceremonies in Tehran 2012


Soheila Shahshahani (Shahid Beheshti University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will study the variety of mourning ceremonies in the public space of Tehran, Iran. It will attempt to show similarities and differences between the rituals of mourning among different classes and ethnic groups in the capital.

Paper long abstract:

The mourning ceremony taking place at mosques in the 22 areas of Tehran can show the diversity of class in a city which is divided into the north and the south, the rich and the poor areas. All ethnic groups of Iran are living within Tehran, and we could observe their presence in various mosques during the time of rituals of mourning. Eastern Tehran has migrants from Eastern Iran, and equally Western Tehran has occupants from Western provinces of Iran.We should not forget that Northern Tehran as well as Western and Southern Tehran consisted of many villages whose inhabitants are also locals of the areas. Can we observe the differences in ethnic origin in a ritual which is common to all Iranians in mosques with specific rules and regulations? Ritual of mourning does not begin nor does it end in a mosque, it can be observed in daily newspapers where a death is announced and the location of ritual is indicated. The number of such announcements for a person, its length, the number of signatures announcing it, and afterwards the number of condolensces in the newspaper indicate the status of the person: political, social and economic.

panel LD37
Changes in death rituals in the Middle East (IUAES Commission on Middle East Anthropology)