The celebrations are especially joyous and popular in Iran, where the anniversary fell on Sunday this year.
To mark the occasion, Iranians bedeck the streets, hang lights around villages, towns, and cities, attend festive events at mosques and religious centers, and distribute votive refreshments.
The occasion is one of the most important ones among Shia Muslims, who have a strong devotion to Imam Mahdi (PBUH).
Imam Mahdi (PBUH) was born on the 15th day of the month of Sha’ban on the lunar calendar around 1,200 years ago.
He is known as the Savior among Shias, who believe he will reappear on earth as per divine decree, establishing peace and ridding the world of injustice, discrimination, and other instances of evil.
Imam Mahdi (PBUH)’s father, Imam Hassan al-Askari, would keep his birth and identity from the tyrants of the time, who had learned about the divine prophesy concerning Imam Mahdi. Their efforts and ill intention, however, failed to either come in the way of the Imam’s birth or harm him afterwards.
Shias thus await the Imam’s reemergence, which is expected to transpire on a Friday, with enthusiasm.