IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Mud-covered faithful mark Ashoura in Iran

Iranian Shiites cover themselves with mud to mark Ashoura in Bijar, west of Tehran, on Nov. 14.
Iranian Shiites cover themselves with mud to mark Ashoura in Bijar, west of Tehran, on Nov. 14.Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

Each year during Ashoura, Shiite Muslim men and boys whip their backs with chains and cut their heads with knives, drenching themselves in blood to mourn the loss of one of the faith's most revered figures, Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, who was killed in the 7th century battle of Kerbala. A variation on this tradition is seen in these images from Bijar, Iran, where mud has been substituted for blood on the day of mourning. 

Ebrahim Noroozi / AP
Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

See images from last year's Ashoura on PhotoBlog