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Muharram festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. This festival starts at the 1st day of Muharram and lasts for 10 days until 10th of Muharram. Some Muslims even observe fast during these days.
The Shias, however, observe this festival in a different fashion. To mark the day, they put on black clothes, as black is regarded as a color of mourning. On the 10th day of Muharram, large processions are formed and the devoted followers parade the streets holding banners and carrying models of the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his people. They show their grief and sorrow by torturing their own bodies with sharp metal tied to chain. This is done in order to depict the sufferings of the martyrs.
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