Muharram at Chennai
Muharram is the name of a month that marks the beginning of the year according to the Islamic calendar. The month of Muharram is also associated with many auspicious events in Islamic history. Allah is supposed to have created the heavens and the earth on this blessed day. On this day, He gives His infinite blessings and bounties to many of His Prophets and delivered them from the clutches of their enemies. The tenth day of Muharram or Ashura is of supreme importance for Shia Muslims as they celebrate the death anniversary of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who, in the month of Muharram many centuries ago, died as a martyr at Karbala, Iraq while defending Islam.
On Ashura, the Muslims take out processions carrying colourfully decorated taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr's tomb) embellished with gilt and mica. Colourful replicas of Imam Husain's tomb at Kerbala are also carried in procession and buried at an imitation Karbala. The mourners walk barefoot to the beat of drums. In a frenzy of grief, they beat their chests and cry out the name of Husain. Some of the followers practice self-flagellation, drawing blood.