Pir Shalyar Ceremony
The ceremony of Pir Shalyar is a traditional service that people hold every year in mid-February in Uraman Takht. Not only do the locals join this ritual, but the people of the surrounding villages also attend this annual recognition.
Because of Uraman’s unique charm and ancient culture, stepped texture, and nature, it hosts travelers and guests from inside and outside the country throughout the year. The ministry of cultural heritage has nationally registered this region, and preparations for its world heritage registration are underway.
A ceremony with the local name of Zamawand (in Kurdish, meaning wedding), of Pir Shalyar Uraman, involves a series of traditional and historical rituals.
Although the name of this ceremony is the wedding of Pir Shalyar, this ceremony is a traditional ritual in which they sacrifice animals and dedicate them to God Almighty. Although, we are aware that sacrificing animals is an ancient way to satisfy the gods. So this ritual has deep roots in mystery and myths.
Historians believe that this ritual is more than a thousand years old and has continued to impress people and those who believe in it.
In ancient times, a person named Pir Shalyar lived in the village of Uraman Takht. Pir Shalyar has been famous for doing extraordinary things, especially healing the sick.
Pir Shalyar, with the real name of Seyyed Mostafa, was born in Uraman. As a child, he went to Kurdistan and Syria to study science. Finally, he served the Sufi and Persian preacher Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani and cultivated the soul and conduct of mysticism. When Abdul Qadir Gilani learns of Pir Shalyar’s gifts, he sends the man back to his hometown, Uraman. The purpose was to guide the people of Uraman. For Uraman, this was its first step toward mysticism. These are the historical facts. And then, somehow, as people often do, raised a mythical luminosity around Pir Shalyar’s character.
Pir Shalyar’s wedding is the story of healing Shah Bahar Khatun, the daughter of the King of Bukhara. When by the blessing of God and healing powers of Pir Shalyar, a miracle happens.
They say that Bahar Khatun was deaf and dumb. No physician could treat her until the name of Pir Shalyar reaches Bukhara. The king of Bukhara promises that whoever heals his daughter would marry her. Eventually, the king’s uncle and some of the king’s entourage set out for the Uraman region to bring the girl to Pir Shalyar.
When they get close to the village of Uraman Takht, Bahar Khatun started to hear sounds. And when they get closer to Pir Shalyar’s house, the sound of a demon’s scream petrifies them. The demonو jumps out of a furnace -which people of Uraman still cal their furnace, demon furnaces- and dies instantly. At that moment, Shah Bahar Khatun opens her tongue and begins to speak.
Standing by his promise, the king of Bukhara marries his daughter to Pir Shalyar, and the people hold a big wedding celebration for them.
Celebrating this event as a sacred and holy ritual feast is to honor Pir Shalyar. Every year, on the evening of Thursday, the first week of Bahman (end of January), the ceremony begins.
There is an ancient walnut garden attributed to Pir Shalyar. Children and teenagers bring walnuts from this consecrated garden to the houses of people. This offering ritual is what the folks of Uraman call Khabar (the new), which tells everyone that the ceremony has started.
During the week, people all around Uraman prepare for the old commemorative service after the Khabar day convention. The preparation includes preparing meals, walnuts, and biscuits for the children ‘s breakfast, preparing traditional cooking means for the ceremony, and donated the cattle to be sacrificed.
One of the conspicuous traditions of this ceremony during the week is that the brothers visit their sisters and nephews with gifts (walnuts, sweets).
This ceremony continues from evening till dawn on Wednesday. From the evening call to prayer until after sunrise, every single house in Uraman celebrates the wedding.
At the end of the visiting ceremony, they sacrifice the cattle near the old house of Pir Shalyar, and their meat provides a special soup. The blood and the flesh shared with everyone around a table to keep a miracle, and the sacredness of a man alive sounds a bit familiar. Though, this is merely an outline.
Every year, a few sheep, the people’s pledges for Pir Shalyar, are sacrificed on Wednesdays and around 9:00 AM.
They send these cattle to a person in Uraman Takht in late autumn. The pledged sheep come from the whole Uraman region. Many other people around Iran also send sheep as oblation in this time to Uraman. That keeper person takes care of them until winter. At the dawn of the chosen day, he brings the sheep for oblation. So, there will be blood.
Then, they take the meat to all people who participated in the ceremony.
After the evening prayer on Wednesday, the mystical daf playing and dancing takes over the cooking and sharing. They all gather in the yard of Pir Shalyar’s house until near sunset, play daf, and dance till the next day.
The mystical dance and listening to the dervishes, accompanied by playing the daf, is a kind of collective behavior that brings everyone to the sensation that they are experiencing a mutual understanding. Like how the Collective unconscious works, they all remember a man who showed them the right path of God.
The last part of the wedding ceremony (Zamawand) of Pir Shalyar in Uraman is called Torbeh. Some refer to Torbe as snowplowing the tomb of Pir Shalyar. Every tribe in Uraman has its own elderly or a leader. On Torbeh day, people visit the grave of their leader and then all together go to the shrine of Pir Shalyar.
The tradition is to bake a special bread and break the bread in a circle of people present. They bake the bread with wheat flour, walnut kernels, and Uraman mountain spices. On Friday, they visit the tomb of their elders and share the bread with their tribes and the villagers.
Pir Shaliar ceremony is one of the traditional celebrations and rituals of Iran. This classical, powerful gathering has explicit roots in mythological beliefs. The Kurds, one of the original Iranian ethnic tribes, celebrate this ritual every year in two seasons, winter and spring. Their commitment to the ceremony is astonishing.