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The Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء‎‎ ʻĀshūrā’ , colloquially: /ʕa(ː)ˈʃuːra/; Urdu: عاشورا‎; Persian: عاشورا‎‎ /ʕɒːʃuːˈɾɒ/; Turkish: Aşure Günü) is on the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. Shi'a Muslims maintain that Ashura is a day of great sorrow due to the tragic events of Karbala. It is commemorated by Shi'a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH ( in AHt: October 10, 680 CE). The massacre of Husayn with small group of his companions and family members had great impact on the religious conscience of Muslims. Especially Shia Muslims have ever remembered it with sorrow and passion. Mourning for Husayn and his companions began almost immediately after the Battle of Karbala, by his survivor relatives and supporters.

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Karbala at Ashura
Arbaeen Pilgrimage is the largest gatherings which is held every year at the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual for the commemoration of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hossein ibn Ali's death in 680. Arba'een marks a "pivotal event in Islamic history" in which the pilgrims make their journey to Karbala on foot, where Husayn ibn Ali, the third Imam of Shia, some of his family members and his army were killed and beheaded by army of Yazid I. Over 19 million people from 40 countries of the word participate this pilgrimage. Some Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis and people of other faiths also participate the festival. The ritual is no longer considered a purely cultural ceremony while ISIL, the group who regards Shia as apostate, has launched a wide offensive in Iraq, and hence presence of such a huge population of Shia is of a political importance. Along the roads to Karbala, many pavilions are devised with the aim of providing "accommodation, food and beverage and medical services," and practically all what the pilgrims need for free. 7000 number of such mawakeb were set up in city of Karbala in 2014.

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The shrine of Husayn, as seen from the shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq
Al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Ali (Arabic: العباس بن علي‎‎, Persian: عباس فرزند علی‎‎) (born 4th Sha‘bān 26 AH – 10 Muharram 61 AH; approximately May 15, 647 – October 10, 680) was the son of Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shiite Muslims and the fourth Caliph of Sunni Muslims, and Fatima bint Hizam commonly known as Mother of the Sons (Persian: 'أم البنين'‎‎). He fought bravely at the battle of Karbalā and was killed, according to most traditions, on the day of Ashura (10 Moḥarram 61/10 October 680) while trying to bring back water from the Euphrates river to quench the unbearable thirst of the besieged "Ahl al-Bayt" (holy family). Abbas is revered by Sunni and Shiite Muslims for his loyalty to his half-brother Hussein, his respect for the Households of Muhammad, and his role in the Battle of Karbala. Abbas is buried in the Shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq, where he was martyred during the Battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura.

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Mourning of Muharram in cities and villages of Iran
Credit: Payam Moein

As a custom for Mourning of Muharram, people in Iran perform Husayn ibn Ali's funeral by carrying a huge wooden structure called "Nakhl", which is usually carried by several hundred men.

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Muharram procession in Bahrain

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