Iranians are holding mourning ceremonies to commemorate Tasu’a, which marks the ninth day of the lunar month of Muharram, on the eve of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam.
Millions of black clad mourners have taken to the streets across Iran to take part in the ceremonies. Large numbers of Iranians are attending the Shia mourning rituals in the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala, which is home to Imam Hussein’s holy shrine.
Mourning processions are also underway in Pakistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan as well as Lebanon. Similar ceremonies will also be held in Europe, America and Africa later in the day.
During the ceremonies, poems are recited and sermons delivered in honor of one of the holiest figures of Shia Islam and his 72 companions, who were martyred in the Battle of Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 AD after fighting bravely in a battle for justice with the much larger army of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, which some historians have said was 100,000-strong.
During Muharram, Iranian people across the country traditionally cook and distribute Nazri (food offerings) among their neighbors, family and the poor. Free food is also offered to people who participate in the mourning ceremonies.
Imam Hussein and his companions were martyred on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, which falls on October 24 this year.
Muharram ceremonies symbolize the eternal and unwavering stance of truth against falsehood and humanity’s struggle against tyranny, the cause for which Imam Hussein was martyred.