Zâr: A Vernacular Illness


Azadeh Najafian ()

People living in the south of Iran, on the shore of the Persian Gulf, believe and deal with a vernacular illness that they call Zâr. It is believed that the cause of this illness is winds which come from Africa and India. For curing this illness, the patient who is called Ahle- Havâ, goes to traditional healers, Bâbâ or Mâmâ. The healer holds a ceremony for bargaining with wind and convincing it not to bother the patient. This article will discuss how this belief system works in society and its effects on power and gender dynamics.

Part of 11-01 Dynamics of Belief and Practice in the Ritual Context: Five Cases from Contemporary Iran, Monday, October 18, 9:30 am–11:00 am