Ashura is the highest holiday in Shia Islam and celebrated by Shia muslims in countries like Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Lebanon and Bahrain. The festival commemorates the battle of Karbala, where the young religion of Islam split irreversibly into Shia and Sunni. History suggests that 3rd Imam Hussain and his 72 followers became the first Muslim martyrs in a battle against the Sunni troops that left no survivors on this fateful day in October 680. Until today, this battle has a strong influence on Shia muslims and even on local politics.
Today, Ashura is one of the biggest festivals in the Iranian calendar, with Hundreds of thousands taking to the streets. People gather in religious places like mosques, and rally for Ashura processions in the main streets of every city, town and village. The main part of the festival is the re-enactment of Hussain’s battle itself. Many people know Ashura for the self-flagellations. In Iran, these are neither bloody nor painful.
All images during Tasua and Ashura were taken either in Isfahan, Yazd and in the village Zarach outside of Yazd, Iran. It is known all over the province for its beautiful Ashura processions.