Pir Shaliar a Symbolic Celebration

Iran Nomad ToursOtherPir Shaliar a Symbolic Celebration

Pir Shaliar is a symbolic wedding celebration that is held annually in the month of Bahman (Almost February) in the Uraman region of Kurdistan province.

This ceremony, which is also called “Party of the Pir” and “Holy Wedding”, is held every year in the middle of Bahman in the village of Uraman Takht. The name of this festival is taken from the name of Pir Shaliar, who is sometimes called “Pishaliyar” and “Pir Shahryar” meaning “Pir the king”

History of Pir Shaliar

According to the existing narratives, Pir Shaliar healed a deaf, dumb, and mentally ill girl named Shabareh Khatun or Jahan Ara, who is said to have been the daughter of one of the kings of Iran. In response to this kindness, the girl’s father married her to Pir Shaliar. Their wedding took place in the village of Uraman Takht, and since then, the people of this village have been practicing symbolic wedding rituals on its anniversary. Although some sources have reported that the wedding ceremony of Pir Shaliar has been held in different regions of Iran and Iraq, it should be stated that the main organizers of this wedding throughout history have been the people of this village. People from other parts of Uraman have always come to Uraman just to participate in it.

How is this ceremony held?

This ceremony starts at the end of the great chelleh and the beginning of the small chelleh in the middle of Bahman, lasts for 3 weeks and is held in 3 stages:

The first stage of the celebration is the announcement, which used to take place on the first Wednesday of Bahman, and nowadays it takes place on the first Friday before the 15th of Bahman. The gardeners of the endowment garden of Pir Shaliar inform the people of the village about the beginning of the festival, and the imam juma speaks about it during the congregational Friday prayer sermons. Shortly after that, the guardians of Pir’s tomb distribute the walnuts from his garden in the shrine area among the village households equally, and the children and teenagers of the village take them to people’s houses.

In return, the owner of each house puts money, wheat, flour, and the like in their dishes to be used in the celebration. At the same time, some young people of the herald’s tribe go to nearby villages and announce the beginning of Pir’s wedding, and the first stage of the celebration ends here


Second Stage


The second stage of the celebration will start in the evening of the next Tuesday with the “Kuteh Kuteh” ceremony, which means beating. Don’t be alarmed though. It’s not the hard, serious beating that you might imagine. After painting their faces, the youth of the village wear strange masks and knock on people’s doors.

As soon as the people of the house, especially the women, open the door, the young people try to scare them. Sometimes men chase them and if they are caught, they will be punished as a joke and for a laugh. This ritual is only for fun and is never a source of spite. In fact, the young people practicing the “Kuteh Kuteh” even receive gifts from the owner of the house after returning to that house.

After that, it is time for “ghe La Rochani” or “Kalaav Rochani”. In Urami language, Rochan means hole or opening and Kalaav means hat. In the past, rural houses had an opening in the roof. When a child was born in a house, the young people would go to the roof of that house and tie a hat to their shawl, and hang it from the opening of the house. The people of the house then put whatever they pleased in the hat. This custom started in the evening of Tuesday in the village of “Sarpir” in the vicinity of Uraman Takht, and the next day, after the morning call to prayer, it was performed in the village of Uraman Takht itself.

According to the research, today, instead of doing this, young people go to people’s houses and directly receive money from them for wheat, walnuts, etc.  Local people relate the origin of this ceremony to the birth of Pir Shaliar or his child.

Third Stage

The third stage is “sacrifice”.  After the “Calaav Rochani” and with the first rays of the sun on Wednesday, the ceremony of sacrificing animals begins in front of Pir’s house. This ritual is still called “sheep’s beheading”. Nowadays, besides sheep, goats, calves, and cows are also sacrificed. The people of Uraman Takht and other surrounding villages sacrifice these animals to Pir Shaliar and send them to Pir’s house at the end of autumn, where they are kept in his still-existing barn and pasture.

The first sheep must be sacrificed by one of the members of the “Pasha” tribe, and after that, the rest of the people sacrifice their animals with the call of “Oh Pir” and the caretakers of the shrine distribute the meat in equal shares among the people of the village.  Some of this meat is given to the guests and the rest of it is used to prepare special food for the day of celebration and is known as “Chaashte Tasheh” or sour food”. This Aash is offered to the attendees along with local bread.

Some children and teenagers take it home for blessing.  

After eating, the participants in the ceremony hold each other’s hands and start dancing and celebrating in a circle. At the beginning of the circle, there are elders and dervishes, and at the end of it are young people and teenagers. After a while, the dervishes fall into a trance, open their long hair, and move their heads to the rhythm of “Ya Allah” and “Ya Hu”(in his name). The rest move each of their legs and body forward and backward with a slow and uniform beat.  At the same time, reed players play reed, a group plays the drum, and another group sings spiritual poems.

This continues until the evening. After that, people gather in Pir’s house. This house includes a room of about 80 meters with several platforms where each tribe sits on its platform. People eat sour Aash, and after the speeches of the religious scholars and ode recitals, the Samaa dance (a spiritual mysticism with a lot of spinning) begins.

Women and girls do not have the right to participate in this ceremony and until recently they could not even watch it from the roof or window of the house. Their role is only to prepare local bread, wash the dishes and clean Pir’s house after the ceremony.

Last steps of the Ceremony

The next stage of Pir Shaliar‘s wedding ceremony is the custom of “Torbi” or “Torbeh” which means “provisions” and “tomb” and “resting place” which is held on Thursday of the following week and the men go to visit the tombs of the local holy elders who have passed away. They take bread filled with walnut kernels along with yogurt and eat it at Pir’s grave after praying. After visiting all the elders’s tombs and asking them for blessings they recite spiritual poems together with the sound of drums and return to the tomb of Pir Shaliar, which is located in the northern part of the worshiping place and next to the sacred tree.

 This ceremony is the end of Pir shaliar‘s winter festival.

Source: Encyclopaedia of Iranians’ Culture