The two general secretariats of the holy shrines of Imam al-Hussayn and al-Abbas (peace be upon both of them), organized this evening (13th Sha'ban 1443 AH) corresponding to (March 17, 2022), the annual Candles Festival near the shrine of Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance) celebrating his blessed birth.
The festival included lighting (1188) symbolic candles indicating the age of the Imam’s life (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance), and these candles were used to write the phrase: (Imam al-Mahdi; Aman Ahl al-Ardh [the safety of the earth’s people]).
The festival began - before the candles were lit - with a beautiful recitation of the verses of the Holy Quran, after which Surat Al-Fatihah was recited as a tribute to the souls of the righteous martyrs of Iraq, followed by a speech by the two general secretariats of the Holy shrines of Imam al-Hussayn and al-Abbas (peace be upon both of them), delivered by Sheikh Maytham al-Khafaji, who offered his congratulations to the believers all over the world for the anniversary of the birth of the Savior of humanity (may the Almighty hasten his holy reappearance), asking the Lord to bless everyone to be among his supporters and those guided by his approach and the approach of his holy fathers, and to reveal the burden of calamity on all the believers. He also highlighted topics related to the Mahdi cause, the era of reappearance, the characteristics of the waiting believer, our duty in the time of occultation [ghaybah], and how to bring happiness to the heart of our Imam.
The festival also included the recitation of a number of poems by a number of poets whose throats resounded with joy on the auspicious birth anniversary.
At the conclusion, the blessed birthday candle was lit by one of the attendees. After which gifts were distributed to those who contributed to the establishment of this festival.
It is worth mentioning that this festival is an annual tradition that the Iraqis held since 21 years, before the fading of the dictatorship in 9th of April, 2003, which was one of the darkest circumstances that prevailed in Iraq since it exists. And despite the harshness of those days, an Iraqi citizen fulfilled his dream in order to commemorate the eve of the fifteenth of Sha'ban, and since the small ceremony of lighting the candles for the birth anniversary of the saviour of mankind, Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance) was developed to be a festival under the supervision of the holy shrines of Imam al-Hussayn and al-Abbas (peace be upon both of them).
Haj. Miqdad Karim Hadi is a citizen from the City of Essawirah in Wasit Province, he was the founder of the tradition of lighting the candles by the number of the age of Imam Al-Hujjah son of al-Hassan (peace be upon both of them), he adds a candle each year, as an indication of the age of the Awaited Imam (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance). And this year 1443AH, thanks to the Almighty and the care of the Imam of the Time (peace be upon him), during the festival, 1188 candles were lighted.