What are some of the ways that the Ashura mourning plays of ta’ziyeh get translated when traveling to foreign lands? What elements of the tradition are altered and similarly, what elements are kept in tact? How can a foreign audience negotiate themselves as alternative spectators? Can ta’ziyeh be a site of travel in itself? Exploring possible answers to such questions allows leeway into the ever-evolving global discussion of our complex and entangled modernity.
Ashura is a day of mourning marked by Muslims around the world to commemorate the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, Hossein, and his compatriots. As a day of commemoration, it has been marked by people of all faiths across large swathes of South, Central, and Western Asia for centuries. This photo essay documents presents a look at the ritual in Istanbul’s Zeynebiye neighborhood in 2013, the center of the city’s Shia population.