On this blessed evening of the holy month of Sha'ban, Monday 13th Sha'ban, 1436 AH corresponding to the 1st June, 2015, near the shrine of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance), which is located on the north side of the old city, and under the supervision of the holy shrines of Imam Al-Hussayn and Al-Abbas (peace be upon both of them), the fifteenth edition of the Candles Festival was held, and in which 1181 candles representing the holy age of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance) were lightened, writing with them "Al-Mahdi, God's promise."
The festival started -before lighting the candles- with a recitation of verses of the Holy Quran by the reader and Mu'adhin of the two holy shrines, Haj. Mustapha Al-Sarraf, followed by the word of the Deputy Head of the Department of Intellectual and Cultural Affairs at the Al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine, Sayed. Aqeel Abd Al-Hussayn Al-Yassiri, in which he congratulated the believers in the world for this auspicious anniversary namely, the birthday of the saviour of mankind (may Allah his holy reappearance), praying the Almighty to bless everyone to be among his supporters.
Adding: "We thank all the efforts that have contributed to the establishment of this festival for the fifteenth year in row, especially Haj. Miqdad Kareem Hadi, who has laid the foundation stone of this festival and continued to this day."
Sayed. Al-Yassiri stressed during this festival on the visitors to observe the sanctity of this city, as it is a land that was quenched by the most sacred blood, the blood of Aba Abdillah Al-Hussayn and his family (peace be upon them) in order to uphold the banner of the right, line the approach of freedom and dignity for the Islamic nation. As for this great night of the fifteenth of Sha'ban, there are many recommended acts to perform, such as the Zyarat of Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him), and special prayers and supplication, which we should perform without forgetting to pray for our brothers in the battle front-lines who are defending Iraq, its people and its sanctities."
Then the popular poets Ali Salman Ghali and Ali Al-Zaydi have ascended the podium to read few poems, followed by the Radood Sayed Ahmed Al-Musawi to present few poems for this great occasion.
It is worth mentioning that this festival is an annual tradition that the Iraqis held since 15 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, this Iraqi citizen fulfilled his dream in order to commemorate the night 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 1436 AH, thanks to the Almighty and the care of the Imam of the Time (peace be upon him), during the festival, 1181 candles were lighted.