Why Muslims celebrate birthday of Imam Mahdi
Fireworks, illuminated streets and mass celebrations are among the main traditions in Iran when it comes to marking the birthday of the 12th Imam of Shia Muslims, Mahdi; the prophesied redeemer, who will bring peace and justice to the world.
This year, there's no trace of mass celebrations, as the coronavirus pandemic has cancelled public gatherings. It's the second year in a row that the coronavirus pandemic has called off this major festivity.
Most families have stayed home and decorated their houses to celebrate the festivity. They find Imam Mahdi's birthday a chance to pray to God to save them from the pandemic.
Unlike last year, this time, Tehran municipality has launched an initiative called Neighborhoods of Waiting, which is aimed to promote the tradition of waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi and at the same time calls for citizens to avoid mass celebrations and spend the festivity costs on charity works.
According to verses and narrations, the 12th Imam, Mahdi, will appear on a Friday, and those who are waiting for his appearance pray that it will take place as soon as possible and that they will be among his soldiers.
Imam Mahdi was born in 969 AD in Iraq. He is believed to be still living in occultation and will rise to rid the world of tyranny and injustice.