Qalishuyan Heritage

Photo Provided by Mohammad Shirkavand

The Qalishuyan is the 1,000-year-old ritual of Mashhad Ardehal is the only religious ceremony in Persia that history is according to the solar-agricultural calendar. This ritual is known as “Qali (Carpet) Friday”. This is a symbolic ritual of martyrdom, the burial of Imamzadeh Sultan Ali, a holy figure among the people of Kashan and Fin. The symbolic coffin is a carpet that is carried to a stream and washed, then returned by the people of Fin and Khave with respect and ritual details.

The Qalishuyan has their own set of rituals. Starting the Qalishuyan takes place a few days before the major ceremonial date.

Jar Friday, the Friday before Qalishuyan, is the day when individuals in Mashhad Ardehal are invited to the Qalishuyan. Jarchi is a person who walks Fin village, Kashan’s Bazaar neighborhood, and Khaveh village and announcing the Qalishuyan’s arrival and the pilgrimage week to Imamzadeh Sultan Ali.

The most important thing about the Qalishuyan is that it is a public ceremony and people hold it, so the Kashani families always prepare a few days before the ceremony so that they can perform the Qalishuyan well and participate in it.

It is usual to recite the Qur’an aloud at the entrance and in the courtyard of Imamzadeh Sultan Ali on the night before Qalishuyan.

The people of Kashan believe that the presence and observance of the Qalishuyan ritual is one of their religious duties. Participants gather in the courtyard of the Safa in Sultan Ali’s shrine with special etiquette. In the morning of the ceremony, the people of Khaveh gather at the tomb and sprinkle rose water on the carpet, then collect the carpet and wrap it with green threads and deliver it to the Finns to respectfully carry it to the stream. And wash with spring water. Those carrying the carpet must move quickly and agitatedly so that the soil rises from the ground and they move their sticks in the air towards the Imamzadeh. Fighting the Imamzadeh killer and helping him is symbolized by moving the sticks. The carpet is transported with incredible enthusiasm from the Safa courtyard to Prince Hussein’s historical spring. After arriving at the spring, the carpet is placed on the ground and bathed with a few drops of water. They put the carpet back on their shoulders with dignity and respect after bathing it and carried it to the shrine with the same enthusiasm as before. After these steps, a mourning ceremony is held at the tomb of Sultan Ali and several people who were involved in Imam Sultan Ali’s martyrdom will be cursed during this ritual.

And on Friday next week, the people of Nashlaj will hold their ceremony.

The Mashhad Ardahal Qalishuyan rituals are registered on the list of cultural and intangible heritage by UNESCO and are performed every year on the second Friday of the month of Mehr, according to the solar-agricultural calendar. Many people travel to Mashhad Ardahal to watch the ceremony.

In the Qalishuyan ritual, people do not wash the carpet, they purify the carpet. They want to rid themselves of lies and slanders, then remove the shame of this happening.