Aşure Ritual in Türkiye

Exposition “Traditional knowledge and practices: Istria’s intangible cultural heritage on National and UNESCO lists”
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Aşure Ritual

Domain: Social practices, rituals and festive events

Element inscribed on the National ICH Registry of Türkiye


“Aşure” is a food that includes boiling legumes such as wheat, beans, chickpeas, apricots, figs and nuts together. The practices formed around the cooking and distribution of this food on the tenth day of the month “Muharram” according to the Hijri calendar are called “aşure tradition”. The name “aşure” has passed into Turkish from the Arabic word “ashura” which comes from the Hebrew “asor” meaning “tenth”. There are many stories about the events believed to take place in the month of Muharram, known as the month of Ashura in Türkiye. The most widely known of these are Noah’s ark’s running aground, acceptance of Adam’s repentance and Prophet Abraham’s saving from fire. According to the meaning attributed by the communities practicing the tradition of Ashura to this day, ingredients, date and purpose of making it vary. Ashure is a food that is famous for the abundance of its ingredients. After it is cooked, the prayer is said. Since it is believed to have healing power, it is first offered to the sick and children, and then distributed to many people, starting from the closest circles. In line with the tradition, the bowl of aşure is returned without washing, as some people believe that good deeds will wash away if it is cleaned. After all, if there is still some aşure left, it is poured to the bottom of the fruit trees as it is believed that these trees will bear more fruit. So today this tradition maintains its position as a strong source of collective memory, shared experience and social identity in Türkiye.