Mourning processions, meetings, fasting and feeding the poor mark the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar.
The Shia community mourns Imam Hussain Ali's death by whipping themselves with sharp objects on the day of Muharram. The rituals are aimed at remembering the sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers who refused to bow to despotic and tyrannical authority.
Amid cries of "Ya Hussain" and recitation of marsiyas (elegies) and noha-khwani (poems expressing sorrow), mourners use knives, blade-encrusted chains and other sharp-edged weapons to flagellate themselves to show solidarity with the sufferings of the martyrs. Others were seen weeping and beating their chests in maatam (mourning).
As mourning processions pass through streets, people, irrespective of religion and caste, stand there to pay their respects.
The fasting is observed on two days -- ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th Muharram.
(With inputs from agencies)
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