Monday, 30 January 2023
History of Ashura

History of Ashura

What does Ashura mean? What is the starting point of Ashura and its place in history?

Here is the information about the history of Ashura from various sources for you.

When we consider the history of Ashura, we see that the starting point is that the ship on which Prophet Noah embarked, settled on today's Mount Judi when the great flood ended and the waters receded, and that the survivors cooked "salvation soup" with the supplies left on the ship.

Ashura, which starts its celebrations on the 10th day of Muharram every year and has a great connection with the belief in fertility, is not only in our country; albeit in different ways, it has found its place in many different societies. It has also helped in the creation of a sharing environment in many cultures.

History of Ashura from Different Sources

Ashura is described in Priscilla Mary Işın's Ottoman Culinary Dictionary with the following words:

Ashura is a dessert made from boiled wheat grains. The origin of Ashura goes back to the first period of agriculture. This sacred food has a close connection with beliefs about fertility.

Ashura spread from Mesopotamia with the wheat culture. That's why in many countries of the world, from China to England, there are feasts or New Year's dishes similar to Ashura.

Ashura, which is the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the year, was considered sacred before Islam and gave its name to the wheat meal eaten that day. With the emergence of Islam, Ashura acquired new meanings. People continued the tradition of making ashura based on various events such as, Shiites served as a mourning meal for Prophet Hüseyin, Sunnites as the acceptance of Adam's repentance, Abraham's salvation from the fire, the meeting of Prophet Jacob's son, Prophet Yusuf (as), and the landing of Noah's ark on Mount Judi.

In Turkey, Ashura is made with a variety of grains, pulses and nuts other than wheat. Although it is usually made as a dessert, meaty or salty varieties are also found in some regions. Sharing Ashura with other people is an important tradition in every part of society.

“Aşura” in Şemsettin Sami's book called Kâmûs-ı Türkî;

Aşura is mentioned in this book as:

  1. The tenth day of Muharram was a known and celebrated day even before Islam.

      2. It is a dessert that is customary to be cooked and distributed on the mentioned day –the tenth day of Muharram- and it is made by mixing pounded wheat with a little of each fruit and grain.

It would not be wrong to say that ashura, which is made with different materials and different methods in every house, has a feature that brings people together. Ashura, which is made with the usual materials at home, is believed to bring blessings and is shared in bowls. It is a flavor that has survived in different cultures in different geographies."

Wikipedia contains the following information about the recipe for ashura and its recipe:

“Ashura is a dessert made on the tenth day of Muharram according to the Hijri calendar. According to Islamic belief, on the tenth day of Muharram, when Prophet Noah set foot on land after the Great Flood, he made this dessert with the last ingredients he had. It is basically made using water, wheat, chickpeas, granulated sugar, beans and rice. Nuts, fruits and spices such as walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, pomegranates, sesame and cinnamon are used for decoration.

Ashura comes from the Arabic word "ashu:re". There are also Armenian and Greek cultures. While Armenians make "anoush-abur" on January 6; the Greeks distribute the "koliva" made with wheat, raisins and honey at the church door and place it at the head of the grave with a plate in the middle of which they plant a candle.

In Alevi culture, a connection is made between cooking ashura on the day that Hussein was killed in the Battle of Karbala and that it does not contain any animal products, and it is expressed that violence is generally protested.

ASHURA is vegan as it does not contain any animal products. When they cook their ashura every year and share it with their neighbor Alevis realize that all kinds of killing (including animals slaughtered for food) is violence, and they also fast for 12 days and do not eat meat in Muharram.

What does Ashura mean?

“Aşura (Aşura) derives from the Arabic word “aşara” which means ten. The word is thought to be a common word among Semitic languages. Also, the word (and day) is used in the Jewish faith for the Great Day of Atonement.

Apart from this, there are some religiously important rumors that are believed to take place on the Day of Ashura. Here are some examples;

- Accepting the repentance of Prophet Adam after his sin,

- The raising of Prophet Idris to the sky alive,

-The survival of Prophet Noah's ship from the flood

-Prophet Abraham did not burn in the fire,

- Prophet Jacob's reunion with his son Yusuf Joseph

- Healing of Prophet Ayyub's diseases,

- Prophet Moses crossing the Red Sea and saving the Israelites from the pharaoh

- Prophet Yunus surviving in the belly of the fish,

- It is the birth of Jesus Christ and his salvation from death and his ascension into the sky.

These events are mentioned in almost all respected hadith books. The Jews also fast on this day. The Prophet of Islam, Hz. Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.V) recommends fasting today as well. It is believed that Muslims should fast by adding the day of Ashura and the day before or the day after in order not to resemble the Jews.

Although its preparation differs a lot according to the regions, the usual recipe of Ashura is as follows:


  • ½ cups of dried beans

  • ½ cups of chickpeas

  • 1 tablespoon of rice

  • 1 tablespoon of burghul

  • 2 cups of granulated sugar

  • ½ cup of seedless raisins (also called sultani grapes)

  • 1 medium apple and 1 orange

  • 8-10 dried apricots

  • 2 glasses of warm milk

For topping

  • 2-3 pomegranate seeds

  • 100 gr hazelnut kernels

  • 100 gr walnut kernels

  • 100 gr almond kernels

  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

  1. Put the ashura wheat, dry beans and chickpeas, which you have washed and drained, in separate containers, bring them to a boil with cold water enough to get four fingers above them and remove from the stove. Leave it like this until the next day.

  2. The next day, put all the ingredients to a large pot, add ten inches of hot water and cook until the ingredients are soft.

3. Add the washed and drained rice and bulghur to the ingredients that have softened well.

 4. After adding granulated sugar and washed and drained raisins to the boiling soup, add dried apricots cut in very small cubes form and cook for another 10 minutes. (Don't forget to stir the Ashure frequently and add hot water if the water is low.) The Ashura should be like a thick soup. If necessary, you can add hot water.

5. Finally, add the apple and orange which you have peeled and cut into small cubes and add milk, and cook on low heat for about 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Take it from the stove, wait for it to become slightly warm, divide it into bowls and sprinkle cinnamon, if desired, coconut. Garnish with pomegranates, hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds. Serve when completely cool.