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Ashura, holy day in Islam, the 10th day of the month of Muharram. It commemorates the day Noah left the ark and the day Moses was saved by God from the Egyptians, and is a voluntary day of fasting for all Muslims. For Shiites it is a solemn day of mourning, commemorating the martyrdom of Husein, grandson of Muhammad, who was killed (A.D. 680) in the battle of Karbala. Shiites observe Ashura with memorial remembrances at mosques, public processions of mourning (including in some instances self-flagellation), and plays that reenact Husein's martyrdom.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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