0256 GMT June 19, 2021
Another reason for the widespread use of Ramadan music and the people’s interest in this type of music is the religious atmosphere which overshadows the holy month of Ramadan. Thus, ancient people performed prayers musically. Some religious poems, or prayers, are performed according to ancient rituals. For instance, saying the prayers called Munajat Khani or Ad’ieh Khani are broadcast on television. The most famous example is the recording ‘Rabbana,’ (Our Lord) by Mohammadreza Shajarian, which is rooted in the past.
This ritual is still performed in certain regions in Iran where either the influence of mass media has not been profound, or the people of these areas are loyal to ancient customs. On the other hand, the ritual Munajat Khani or Ad’ieh Khani are broadcast on radio and television; from this point of view, the media has assisted the ancient rituals. These days, if you turn on the radio or television, undoubtedly, you will hear or watch musical prayers rooted in the past.
Ramadan music in different regions of Iran
“Ramadan music in Iran is taken from the Iranian culture and its subcultures. As there are various subcultures in our country and their elements are different, this is also true for Ramadan music,” said Vojdani, adding, “Music is at the top of intangible cultural heritage, and since ethnic music in Iran has a wide range, we can conclude that Ramadan music is different in different regions.”
In other words, as Iranian ethnicities are different in terms of garment, food, and art, the traditions of Ramadan rituals, especially its music, are different among various ethnic groups. This difference arises from their social, economic, and historical circumstances over the years. However, all of them are like flowers which form the Iranian flower garden.
“Despite the diversity, all ethnicities including Kurds, Lors, Turks, etc., used the same musical instruments such as the drum, tambour, hornpipe, cymbal, and so on,” Vojdani said.
Ramadan music in danger of disappearing
According to Vojdani, efforts to maintain customs and rituals, including Ramadan music, are made individually by music advocates, not the government. Although there is a ministry related to these subjects, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism pays attention to tangible heritage, including buildings and historical places, while most intangible heritage is in danger of dying out. Because of audio-visual media, people, especially young people, do not care about ancient customs. Continuation of this process will probably cause a collective forgetting by future generations.
However, the rituals and rites are held in mosques and religious sites – at least by elderly people – which may prevent forgetting.