Saturday, November 14, 2009

A White Tent

Going to the store I saw a white tent sitting in the middle of the street. A wedding, was my immediate thought.

When I talked with a man standing outside he told me that the occasion wasn't joyful at all - the tent was erected in memory of his much loved and respected uncle who passed away. After the funeral people will come here to pay their respects. He let me took a glance inside and explained that tea and halva would be served there for all those who will come. This day is called hatir hedjasi and literally means a day of free visits, implying that no invitations are needed. The funeral repast will take place on the third, seventh and fortieth days after the death and on the first anniversary. There is a belief that on the third and the seventh day after death the soul of the deceased is still not gone and only after forty days it finally leaves. Since he seemed to be eager to talk I asked him if the mirrors were curtained in his uncle's house and he confirmed that it was indeed done because otherwise the soul of the deceased could be trapped inside. I asked him what was his fondest memories of his uncle. He was silent for a moment. "He was the best storyteller", he said, "I'll miss it the most."