Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Muharram :: Indian Festivals

Muharram is not a festival in the celebratory sense as it mourns the Kerbala tragedy when Imam Husain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the early days of Islamic history. Profusely decorated taziahs (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr's tomb), embellished with gilt and mica are carried through city streets.

Mourners beat their breasts lamenting and grieving over the murder, accompanied by drum beats. Wrestlers and dancers enact scenes depicting the battle at Kerbala and at each step young men beat their breasts crying "Husain! Husain!" in collective sorrow. Some mesmerising processions can be witnessed on the occassion of Muharram in the cities of Agra, Lucknow, Delhi and Hyderabad.

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