On Ashura, the Muslims take out processions carrying colourfully decorated taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr’s tomb) embellished with gilt and mica. Colourful replicas of Imam Husain’s tomb at Karbala are also carried in procession and buried at an imitation Karbala. The mourners walk barefoot to the beat of drums. In a frenzy of grief, they beat their chests and cry out the name of Husain. They sometimes even flagellate or whip themselves, drawing blood. Wrestlers and dancers enact scenes depicting the battle at Karbala. While many Muslims take to the streets to mourn, there are some families that retain personal mourning houses.
Lucknow, being the centre of Shia culture and religious activities, observes the rites of mourning with great passion. In places other than Lucknow, the taziyas are taken out and buried in the local burial ground known as Karbala.
Sunni Muslims may also commemorate Husayn’s death but in a less demonstrative manner, concentrating instead on the redemptive aspect of his martyrdom.