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Relive the pain

The Shiite faithful express their mourning for this event that took place many centuries ago by self-flagellating and singing songs and lamentations. Axes, swords and knives are used for these practices and the blood of the faithful is symbolically offered to the entire community.

From India to Pakistan, from Afghanistan to Iran, from Azerbaijan to Yemen and Bahrain, from Syria to Burma and from Iraq to Lebanon, Shiites cover cities and streets with black flags and banners mourning for a massacre that took place 14 centuries ago.

Even the youngest are taught this gesture of sacrifice which is reserved for men, while the rest of the community gathers to attend the scourging, offering food and drink to support and refresh the men who undergo the practices.

Ashura ceremonies take place in various countries, especially at night, with massive processions. Typical of Iran is the theatrical representation called Taaziyeh, a re-enactment of the historical facts concerning the tragedy of Kerbala which is held in the squares.