The Mirag Tradition
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
The tradition and science of a disappearing practice.
Eid e Soori, better known as "Mirag", is celebrated every year on 18th day of Persian month of Khordad which falls on 8th of June in the Gregorian calendar. From time immemorial the Deccani sultans observed the native harvest festival, the Mirag or the 'Day of Suri' marks the end of malignant scorching summer. Interestingly, the first shower of the south eastern monsoon is always expected on Mirag. According to Persian mythology, the first shower after 21 March or Nouroz (Persian New Year) is termed as "Aab-e-Mizzah" and it was believed to breathe new life and color into flora and flush out ailments from metazoans.
The fifth Sultan of Golconda Mohammad Quli raised Mirag's position and declared it as a national festival, possibly in the year 1009 Hijri/ 1601 CE. According to Tareeq e Qutb Shahi, the Youm e Mirag was later termed as Eid-e-Soori, which means the scarlet festival but the author feels that the word "suri" is taken from a Dravidian language.
Interestingly, from time immemorial south Indians used dried fishes to prepare the first shower meal and dried fish is commonly known as "Suri Shukti" in South India. According to Tareeq E Amjad Shah, the Deccanis used to hang meat and fish under the blazing summer sun after Nouroz to remove moisture and to dry it. Exactly 2 months from Navroz the dried fish and meat was used during the monsoon feast.
Mohammed Quli composed many sonnets to welcome the sensational 'Elixir of Life' i.e the life giving monsoon rain.
Garja mirag khushiyan soun; singhar aao sakhiyan,
Padta hai megh phui phui; choli bhigao sakhiyan!
According to a journal authored by the president of Darul Shifa hospital Rukn e Maseei, the Royal Hakeem prepared a medicine combining sumbal, sumac, buch & oil. The potion was said to mitigate asthma and was distributed among the low and high free of cost on the auspicious day of Eid-E-Suri. The common folk would decorate their thresholds with Rangoli using crushed petals, turmeric and a festoons of mango leaves. Women used to take a red cotton thread after the Holi festival and recite Surah Muzammil and upon each recitation they tied a knot, the process usually ended on or before the day of Mirag.
Mirag is still commemorated in Hyderabad Deccan with a tremendous rise in fish prices as Deccanis rush to purchase fish for the feast. The Bathini Goud family distribute fish prasad (asthma medicine) on the day of Mirag irrespective of caste and creed.
The author is a history buff of Deccani history.