The first month of the Islamic calendar 2015, Muharram is a commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala. One of the four sacred months of Islam, Muharram is observed with immense respect, reflection and remembrance by both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims worldwide. The Shi’a sect, in particular, observes and organises various public mourning rituals with great passion as a homage and cathartic experience in the memory of the tragic historic events at Karbala. The tenth day of the month, known as the Day of Ashura, is a significant part of the Mourning of Muharram for Shia Muslims. Here are some glimpses of the fervour on Ashura from different parts of the world.
Ta’ziya Processions in India
A Ta’ziya procession in progress on Day of Ashura in Barabanki, India. Ta’ziya is a miniature of mausoleums of Karbala. These are usually made with coloured paper and bamboo.
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Nakhl-Gardani in Iran
Nakhl-Gardani is a special ritual, which symbolizes the coffin of Imam Hussein and his companions. A large structure comprising heavy carved woods in the shape of a leaf or cypress tree is carried.
Pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq
The holy city of Karbala hosts scores and scores of pilgrims visiting the place to commemorate the suffering of Imam Hussein. The Imam Hussein shrine is one of the most revered shrines in Karbala.
Ritualistic Self-Flagellation in Pakistan
Men and young boys perform a ritualistic self-flagellation on Day of Ashura in many parts of the world, including Pakistan. Besides chest flogging, some communities flog themselves on the back with chains and sharp objects (zanjeer zani and tatbir).
Tabuik in Indonesia
Tabuik aka Tabut or Tabot (meaning high funeral biers) is an indigenous manifestation of the Mourning of Muharram observed by Minangkabau people in the city of Pariaman, Indonesia.
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