To celebrate the birthday of the savior of mankind, the Owner of the Order and Time (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance), the annual festival of candles in its nineteenth edition was held near the holy Maqam of Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance), under the auspices of the two general secretariats of the holy shrines of Imam Al-Hussayn and Al-Abbas (peace be upon both of them), in cooperation with Haj Miqdad Karim al-Ta'i from Essawirah district; the person who had the first initiative, in the presence of a large number of visitors of the holy city of Karbala and a number of the notables and officials of the two holy shrines.
The festival, which was held on the evening of (13th of Sha'ban 1440 AH) corresponding to (April 19, 2018) near the Maqam of the Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance) included lighting (1185) candles representing the age of the Imam of our time (may our souls and the souls of both worlds be a redemption for the soil of his arrival), formed to write "al-Mahdi, Nassir al-Mu'mineen [supporter of the believers]" arranged in an artistic manner that forms a particular phrase that changes each year.
The ceremony began with the recitation of verses from the holy book of Allah and Surat Al-Fatihah was read in honor of the martyrs of Iraq. This was followed by the speech of the Sheikh Ja'far al-Ibrahimi, in which he said: "On this blessed night we will lighten the birthday candles, and in my estimation the candle refers to the light and the expulsion of the darkness. The darkness that will be expelled except by the light of Mohammad and Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), as they are the light of Allah on earth and they are the guidance in the darkness. On this night we announce our pledge and our covenant with our savior; our imam (may Allah hasten his holy reappearance). "
This was followed by the speech of the General Secretaries of the two holy shrines delivered by Mr Afdhal al-Shami, Deputy Secretary-General of the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) for cultural affairs, who started by extending his congratulations to the believers and the visitors for the birth anniversary of our Imam, praying for all to be among his supporters...
Then many poems followed to urge on the love of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), and on following their path and morals, with the participation of many poets, The conclusion was by lighting the candles and then gifts were distributed to those who contributed to the establishment of this celebration.
It is worth mentioning that this festival is an annual tradition that the Iraqis held since 16 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'baan, 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 1440 AH, thanks to the Almighty and the care of the Imam of the Time (peace be upon him), during the festival, 1185 candles were lighted.