FASCINATING images show devout Muslims using knives to cut open their heads during a traditional show of faith.
Every year, thousands of Shia worshippers take part in the ceremonies, performed to mourn the death of Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
The commemorations take place on Ashura, the tenth day of the first month of the Islamic calendar.
They mark Husayn’s death at the Battle of Karbala, fought between Husayn and Yazid I on October 10 680AD to determine who should succeed the prophet as the leader of Islam.
Yazid is considered a tyrant by some Muslims, and Husayn’s death is considered by the Shia community to be a symbol of humanity’s struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression.
The anniversary is a national holiday in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Pakistan, and typically involves public expressions of mourning.
The Ashura festivities were marked by tragedy in Iraq’s holy city of Karbalaafter more than 30 pilgrims died and another 100 were wounded in a stampede when a walkway collapsed.
Some Muslims mark the day with the practice of Tatbir, in which a sword or scourge is used to draw blood in remembrance of the innocent blood of Husayn.