The Muharram is hardly a festival. We may call it mourning. The Muslims celebrate it in honor of the great Husayn. He scarified his life after fasting for ten days. The Muslims of Shia take part in this festival.
The story of the festival is very touching. None can help weeping. The Muharram has a historical background. Mohammad, the prophet, had two grandsons through his daughter. They were named Hassan and Husayn. Husayn was bravest and the purest man of his time. Hassan was caught by the enemy, Yazid-ul-Maviya. He was put to death. Husayn fought against the enemy. The war went in for 20 days. In the end the enemies surrounded Husayn while he was crossing the desert. He was prisoned for ten days. He was given no food or drink. On the 10th day he was put to death.
How the Festival is Celebrated
The festival lasts for ten days. It begins with the appearance of the new moon of the month on which it falls. A place is selected. All the mourners, great and small, gather there. It is called the council of mourners. They pray thought-out whole day. All distribute alms to the poor. For ten days they weep for Husayn. They curse the cruel Yazid.
Celebration of the Tenth Day
On the 10th day, bamboo frameworks are taken out from the place in procession. These frame works represent the tombs of Hassan and his ones. They are called marsias.They weep bitterly. Some of the mourners become wild with grief. All shout 'O Hassan ! o Hassan!' Women beat their breast with their hands in sorrow. They pass the whole night in this way.
Last Day of the Muharram
On the tenth day, which is the last of the festival, the tazias are carried to the Karbala the burial ground. There they are buried with loud cheers to Hassan and Husayn. After this they return home. They pass an hour in prayers. Then they sit down to the great for them. Thus the great festival of the Muharram comes to an end.
The Hindus show sympathy with there Muslim neighbors in their sorrow. They offer cold drinks to the mourners. Some of them out flowers and sweet on the tazias. A bad aspect of the festival is that, when the tazias are taken out, the rival parties quarrel.