Ashura, or the tenth day of the month of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, is the peak of the Battle of Karbala, when in 680, Imam Hossein and only 72 of his companions faced off with the forces of the tyrant ruler of the time, Yazid, the second Umayyad caliph.
As noon arrived on that day, Imam Hossein was left alone — the last of his companions had been martyred — and fought and was martyred.
His family, mostly women and children, were taken as captives.
Imam Hossain’s half-brother, Abolfazl al-Abbas, was martyred a day earlier in the battle, known on the calendar as Tasu’a, and is highly revered among Muslims as a symbol of loyalty
Iranians in cities, towns, and villages across the country are marking the day on Friday by going to mosques or pouring into the streets and joining processions, beating their chests to eulogies, beating the back of their shoulders with light chains, etc.
Iranian people also traditionally cook and distribute charity food among their neighbors, family members, and the poor.