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Photos: Carpet Washing Ritual in Mashhad Ardehal

Photos by Seyyed Shahabeddin Vajedi, Mehr News Agency

The ritual of the carpet washing in Mashhad Ardehal, in the city of Kashan in the central Iranian province of Isfahan, symbolizes a funeral held for Imamzadeh Soltan Ali, a descendant of Imam Muhammad Baqir, in the region of Mashhad Ardehal in 732 CE.

The ritual was registered on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during a meeting held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on December 5, 2012.


Qalishuyan (carpet washing) rituals are practiced in Iran to honor the memory of Soltan Ali, a holy figure among the people of Kashan and Fin. According to legend, he was martyred, and his body found and carried in a carpet to a stream, where it was washed and buried by the people of Fin and Khaveh. Today, Soltan Ali mausoleum is the site of a ritual where a carpet is washed in the holy stream by a huge gathering. It takes place on the nearest Friday to the seventeenth day of the month of Mehr, according to the solar-agricultural calendar. In the morning, people of Khaveh gather at the mausoleum to sprinkle rosewater on the carpet. Having completed the wrapping rituals, they deliver it to the people of Fin outside, who rinse the carpet in running water, and sprinkle rosewater drops with neatly cut and beautifully decorated wooden sticks. The carpet is then returned to the mausoleum. People of Kashan contribute a prayer-carpet and the people of Nasalg celebrate their ritual the following Friday. These communities maintain oral transmission of the procedures, but also recreate the tradition by adding new and festive elements.


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