Lebanon: Commemorating Ashura
13 images Created 19 Jan 2008
The Ashura ceremony marks the tenth day of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar. For Shi'a Muslims the ceremony commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. Many Shi'a commemorate this holiday with theatrical performances retelling the battle, marches and other ceremonies where people engage in flagellation to honor the suffering which Imam Hussain is said to have experienced before his death. In Shi'a-dominated southern Lebanon few still engage in the blood-letting flagellation rituals, but many, especially followers of the Amal movement in the southern city of Nabatieh, still do. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the other major Shi'a party in Lebanon, Hizbullah, has banned the spilling of blood during Ashura commemorations.