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Friday, December 17, 2010

Muharram Festival

Muharram Festival: Muharram festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grand-son of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). This festival starts on the 1st day of Muharram and lasts for 10 days until 10 month of Muharram. Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar.

During this month, during a trip, Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family members and a number of his followers were surrounded by the forces of Yazid, the Muslim ruler of the time. During the siege, they were deprived of food and water and many of them were killed. The incident occurred at a place called Karbala in Iraq in 61st year after Hijra. This dispute was the result of a disagreement between Muslims on the question of succession after the demise of Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph.

Some sects of Muslims hold meetings where speeches are made about the events of Karbala and on the lives of martyrs. The Shiites, however, observe this festival in a different fasion. As Muharram, the first month of the Muslim year, approaches, they put on black clothes, black is considered a color of mourning. Majalis (assemblies) are held every day during the first nine days where Shia orators relate the incident of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his party in a great detail. The 10th day of Muharram, large processions are formed and the devoted followers parade the streets waving banners and implementation models of the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his people, who fell at Karbala. They show their grief and pain due to injuries inflicted on their own bodies due to strong metal chain with which they scourge. This is done in order to depict the sufferings of the martyrs. It is a sad occasion and everyone in the procession chants "Ya Hussain", laments hard with lamentations. In general, a white horse beautifully decorated for the occasion, is also included in the procession, to mark the empty mount of Hazrat Imam Husain after his martyrdom.

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