TEHRAN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Iranian Shiite Muslims held solemn mourning ceremonies nationwide on Sunday to mark Ashura Day.
Ashura takes place on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Shiite Muslims commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, who was killed and buried in Karbala in 680 A.D.
Despite a tradition every year to march in the streets and chant religious anthems, the mourners in the capital Tehran this year gathered in separate groups in local districts, holy shrines and private communities to observe the day.
Iran's health authorities had called on mourners to wear masks and practice social distancing in a bid to take precautions about the possible spread of the disease.
Many people also stayed at their homes and followed up with live feeds of funeral ceremonies on TV and internet.
The authorities had also announced strict measures on distribution of food and drinks which people used to offer every Ashura as a sign of votives.
In his earlier messages, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had urged the mourners to comply to the advice of health officials during Muharram rituals.
Similar ceremonies were held in other Iranian cities and villages on Sunday where people stopped business and economic activities.
The participants in processions beat chest as a display of their devotion to Imam Hussein. Enditem