Muharram In Turkey: The day of Ashura is marked by Muslims as a whole, but for Shia Muslims it is a major religious commemoration of the martyrdom at Karbala of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. It falls on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
It is marked by Muslims with a voluntary day of fasting which commemorates the day Noah left the Ark, and the day that Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God. For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a solemn day of mourning the martyrdom of Hussein in 680 AD at Karbala in modern-day Iraq.
It is marked with mourning rituals and passion plays re-enacting the martyrdom. Shia men and women dressed in black also parade through the streets slapping their chests and chanting. Some Shia men seek to emulate the suffering of Hussein by flagellating themselves with chains or cutting their foreheads until blood streams from their bodies.
Some Shia leaders and groups discourage the bloodletting, saying it creates a backward and negative image of Shia Muslims. Such leaders encourage people to donate blood.