By: Mir M.Hosseini
Imam Mehdi, the 12th Shiite Imam was born in Samara on a Friday morning on Aug, 2, 869 (converted from Shaban, 15, 255 Lunar Hijri). There are other dates recorded as his birthday attributed to the secrecy of this important event in the Shiite and Iranian history. His father was the 11th Imam Hasan Asgari, and his mother's name was Nergis.
The Abbasi Caliphs wanted to kill the succesor of the 11th Imam, therefore Imam Mehdi's birth was kept secret and Shiites believe that Imam Mehdi is alive and observe a minor and major period of his absence.
Imam Mehdi's minor absence took place at the age of 5 and lasted for 70 years and after that the major absence began that continues to-date.
Shiites celebrate his birthday, especially in Iran, the anniversary celebrations are marked with bright colorful lights, and offering free food and beverages all round the cities. Many couples prefer this date for their wedding.
The third period is known as the appearance of Imam Mehdi. He will bring peace and justice to the world and punish the oppressors and sinners.