Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, is a period of mourning for Shia Muslims. During the month they commemorate the martyrdom of Husain, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third Shia Imam, at the Battle of Karbala. The mourning events reach a climax on Ashura, the tenth day of the month

During Muharram, mapped commemorations in different countries:,27.667007spn=96.805243,301.58432

The map is far from exhaustive, as there are literally thousands of Muharram videos on Youtube from all over the over the world. just selected a few that show the wide diversity of the rituals as they have spread around the world.

The map and videos quite neatly reflect the migration and displacement patterns of people from the time of the events of Karbala in 680AD to all corners of the globe today. It also shows something about how rituals and tradition are defined, and then continuously moulded by time and migration.

So, for example, here is one path taken. The rites travelled east from Iraq, across Persia, to North India sometime between 1300 and 1700 AD. Although Shi'ite Muslims claimed ownership of the rites, in India Sunnis and even Hindus were active participants. Somewhere along the way two things became common elements of the rites:         a drum performance known as Dhol-Tasha: (video), and         and the parading of what are known as Tazias - symbolic representations of the shrine of Karbala: (video)

During the days of the British Raj, thousands of Indian indentured labourers travelled to far flung regions of the British Empire, such as Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribbean Islands, taking these rituals with them. In Trinidad, the rites became known as the festival of Hosay, in which not only Sunnis and Hindus participated, but also Afro-Trinidadians. In Trinidad, the Dhol-Tasha drums (referred to as 'Tassa') and Tazias ('Tadja') can still clearly be seen: (video)

In recent decades there has been considerable migration of people from the Caribbean to North America. So today you can see those same Tasha drums and Tazias at Muharram commemorations in Manhattan: (video)

And in Manhattan you can also see Muharram rites being carried out by migrants from India who did not stop over in the Caribbean, something quite different: (video) There are a million other things that can be said, but have a look at the videos on the map for yourself and see.



 1  Ashura in Japan
 2  Ashura in Finland
 3  Ashura in Ghana
 4  Ashura in Nigeria
 5  ​​Ashura in Azerbaijan
 6  Ashura in Qatif
 7  Ashura in Tanzania
 8  Ashura in Pakistan
 9  Ashura in Egypt
10  Ashura in Australia
 11  Ashura in Turkey
 12  Ashura in Iran
 13  Ashura in Lebanon
 14  Ashura in Yemen
 15  Ashura in Bahrain
 16  Ashura in Britain
 17  Ashura in Denmark
 18  Ashura in Norway
 19  Ashura in Germany
 20  Ashura in Oman
 21  Ashura in Tunisia
 22  Ashura in Thailand
 23  Ashura in Sudan
 24  Ashura in Sweden
 25  Ashura in the Netherlands
 26  Ashura in America
 27  Ashura in Brazil
 28  Ashura in Andenossia
 29  Ashura in Afghanistan
 30  Ashura in Kuwait
 31  Ashura in Russia
 32  Ashura in Qatar
 33  Ashura in United Arab Emirates
 34  Ashura in Bangladesh
 35  Ashura in France
 36  Ashura in Senegal
 37  Ashura in Syria
 38  Ashura in Norway
 39  Ashura in Ukraine
 40  Ashura in Medina
 41  Ashura in Kenya
 42  Ashura in Niger
 43  Ashura in Hong Kong
 44  Ashura in Iraq
 45  Ashura in Italy
 46  Ashura in Mali
 47  Ashura in Ivory Coast
 48  Ashura in Malaysia
 49  Ashura in Morocco
 50  Ashura in Belgium
 51  Ashura in Switzerland
 52  Ashura in Korea
 53  Ashura in China
 54  Ashura in Austria
 55  Ashura in Algeria
 56  Ashura in Canada
 57  Ashura in Poland
 58  Ashura in Palestine
 59  Ashura in South Africa
 60  Ashura in Krinada Island
 61  Ashura in Ireland
 62  Ashura in New Zealand
 63  Ashura in Scotland
 64  Ashura in Al-Ahsa
 65  Ashura in Philippines
66 Ukaraine
67Brisbane Australia
68 Homs Syria