Ashura Date: Muharram and Islamic New Year

Ashura Date: Muharram and Islamic New Year

Muharram is one of the holiest occasions in the Islamic calendar. Muharram is the first month of the lunar Hijri calendar, which marks the start of the Islamic New Year. It was during this month that Imam Hussain Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was brutally assassinated together with his family and supporters thousands years back at the Battle of Karbala. The month of Muharram is also one of the four most sanctified months among the twelve months of the Islamic calendar. The other three holy months are Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Rajab. The Battle of Karbala took place on the 10th day of Muharram, that is, Ashura. Muslims across the world observe this day with great religious significance. However, the date of Ashura does not remain the same every year.

Read on further to know the date of Ashura in the year 2020.

When Is Ashura

Ashura falls on the 10th day of the holy month of Muharram. However, the date does not remain the same as per the Gregorian calendar. While the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. Hence, the dates of the Islamic calendar shift back approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ashura is only decided after the moon of Muharram is sighted. Moreover, the Ashura date can also vary from country to country, depending upon whether the moon has been sighted in that particular country or not. The month of Muharram is likely to begin on the Friday August 28 ~ Saturday, August 29, 2020, in the year 2020. Therefore, the date of Ashura is expected to fall on the Friday August 28 ~ Saturday, August 29, 2020.

In the Muslim calendar, the next day starts on the sunset of the previous day. Thus, the date of Ashura will begin from the sunset of the Friday August 28 ~ Saturday, August 29, 2020. Ashura has become a national holiday in Shia countries, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon and Bahrain. They commemorate Ashura as the day of mourning for the martyrdom of Hussain Ali and his followers. On this day, Muslims take our large processions through the streets carrying taziyeh (replicas of the mausoleum of Hussain Ali and others made from bamboo and paper) decorated with gilt and mica.

To express grief, mourners beat their chests chanting ‘Ya Hussain’. Some even flagellate or whip themselves with small knives or sharp tools attached to chains drawing out blood to feel the pain that Hussain Ali and others had been through. The taziyehs, at the end of the day, are taken to the local burial ground, known as Karbala and buried. On the other hand, Sunni Muslims mark the day on a much silent note. They offer prayers and fast on the day of Ashura. They make delectable delicacies which are distributed among friends, relatives and the deprived.

Ashura Date:

  • Ashura 2019: Monday Sep 09 ~ Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019
  • Ashura 2020: Friday August 28 ~ Saturday, August 29, 2020

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