Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is also one of the four sacred months mentioned in the Holy Quran. The tenth day of Muharram (Ashurah) is considered with many distinctive qualities and features. It is believed that Allah Ta’ala created the heavens and the earth on this blessed day. It is recommended to observe fast on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram.
The first day of Muharram is often celebrated by Sunnis as the Islamic New Year.
The Shias mourn the Karbala tragedy during Muharram. Imam Husain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the early days of Islamic history. Mourners beat their chests, lamenting and grieving to the tune of beating drums and chants of ‘Ya Husayn.’ Dancers reenact scenes of the battle at Karbala, while many inflict wounds on their bodies.