Citizens International

Turkey’s Shiites mark Ashura Day in İstanbul

posted November 24, 2012 by Today’s Zaman
Thousands of Shiite Muslims gathered in İstanbul’s Halkalı district on Saturday to mark the day of Ashura and mourn the martyrdom of 72 people, including Husain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala 1,369 years ago.

Ashura is a religious observance marked every year by Muslims. The word ‘ashura’ literally means “10th,” as it is the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year. Ashura is an ancient observance that is now recognized for different reasons and in different ways among Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Wearing black clothes symbolizing mourning, young women carried the names of the Karbala martyrs on cloths they wrapped around their heads and cups in their hands that symbolized the thirst suffered by Husain and his companions in the desert.

Men flogged themselves in the parade to express their grief and to re-enact the pain that Husain suffered. Many doves were released in memory of Ali Asghar, the 6-month-old son of Husain who was also killed at the Battle of Karbala.