It is an important Muslim festival which commemorates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic year which begins with this festival. It is celebrated by the Muslims all over the world, but their ways of celebration are different.
It is believed that during this month, while on a journey, Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family members and a large number of his followers were surrounded by the forces of Yazid, the Muslim ruler at that time.
During their serge, they were harassed and tortured, even some of them were put to death. This dispute was the result of the disagreement among Muslims regarding the question of succession arising out of the demise of the fourth caliph, Hazrat Ali.
The Shias, an important sect of the Muslims, observe Muharram in different ways. They put on black clothes as a sign of mourning, with the start of the Muharram.
Majalis (assemblies) are held every day during the first nine days of the celebration, and events related to the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his parties are narrated by Shia orators.
On the tenth day of Muharram a large procession is taken out. They express their sorrows and briefs by inflicting wounds on their own bodies which is practiced to depict symbolically the sufferings of the martyrs.
In some parts of the world, drinking posts are set up temporarily by the Shia community where water and juices are served to all, free of charge. Thus, this festival is celebrated for 10 days starting from the first day of Muharram.