Muharram festival is celebrated to honor the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. The festival begins on the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and lasts for 10 days. It is said that during this month only, the soldiers of Yazid, a Muslim ruler, surrounded Hazrat Imam Hussain, along with his family and followers at a place called Karbala in Iraq. In the days that followed, they were denied food and water and many of them were even eliminated.
Since that day, Muharram is observed to commemorate Imam Hussain. In
some parts of the world, meetings are held in honor of the martyrs,
where speeches are given as a tribute. However, the Shia sect of Muslims
follows a different tradition. They wear black through the duration of
the festival as it is regarded as a color of mourning. During the first
nine days, Majalis (assemblies) are organized in the morning, where
people talk about the incident that took place at Karbala.
On the 10th day of Muharram, large processions with people holding
banners and carrying paper and bamboo replicas of the tomb of Hazrat
Imam Hussain and his people are taken out in the streets. Some of the
Muslims also hit themselves with a sharp metal tied to chain to express
their pain and sorrow. The Moharram processions also are taken out on
the streets of New Delhi, the capital India. At times, a magnificently
adorned white horse is also included in the procession, as a symbol of
the empty mount of Hazrat Imam Hussain after his martyrdom. Just as
other places, the members of the Shia community set up drinking posts to
serve water and juices, free of charge, to everyone in Delhi as well.