The ritual dramatic art of Taziyeh

Taziyeh means comfort, condolence. It comes from roots aza (عزو and عزى) which means mourning. Ta’ziyeh as a kind of passion play is a kind of comprehensive indigenous form considered as being the national form of Iranian theatre which have pervasive influence in the Iranian works of drama and play. It originates from some famous mythologies and rites such as Mithraism, Sug-e-Siavush (Mourning for Siavush) and Yadegar-e-Zariran or Memorial of Zarir
Depending on the region, time, occasion, religion, etc. the word can signify different cultural meanings and practices:

Ta’zieh in Persian culture

In Persian cultural reference it is a kind of Condolence Theater inspired by historical and religious events, symbolizing epic spirit and resistance.
In reference to Iranian Shiism it is a kind of Passion Play on the tragic fate of Hassan and Hussein.
In South Asia and in the Caribbean it refers specifically to the Miniature Mausoleums (imitations of the mausolems of Karbala, generally made of coloured paper and bamboo) used in ritual processions held in the month of Muharram.

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In Persian culture it refers to condolence theater and Naqqali which are traditional Persian theatrical genres in which the drama is conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. It dates from before the Islamic era and the tragedy of Saiawush in Shahnameh is one of the best examples.

In Persian tradition, Tazieh and Parde-khani, inspired by historical and religious events, symbolize epic spirit and resistance. The common themes are heroic tales of love and sacrifice and of resistance against the evil.

While in the west the two major genres of drama have been comedy and tragedy, in Persia, Tazieh seems to be the dominant genre. Considered as Persian opera, Tazieh resembles European opera in many respects.

Persian cinema and Persian symphonic music have been influenced by the long tradition of Tazieh in Iran. Abbas Kiarostami, famous Iranian film maker, made a documentary movie titled “A Look to Tazieh” in which he explores the relationship of the audience to this theatrical form. Nasser Taghvaee also made a documentary on Tazieh titled “Tamrin e Akhar”.

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