Tuesday, November 10, 2020

From Iraq, an Intimate Glimpse of the Religious Holiday Arbaeen

Photographs and Text by Andrea DiCenzo
Dressed in black to designate mourning and red to symbolize the blood spilled by Imam Hussein and his followers, a large group of pilgrims in the Imam Abbas shrine strike themselves in a display of grief.
The walls of the Imam Abbas shrine in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala seemed to heave and sway with the boisterous, devoted crowd. By holding onto a rope, ushers partitioned a makeshift runway from one entrance of the mosque to another. This was the stage where a parade of religious men and women would perform latom, or ritual chest-beating, and other forms of ceremonial mourning. This wasn’t a normal day at the Imam Abbas shrine. This was Arbaeen, and the shrine would see some 15 million visitors and thousands of religious performances pass through its red glow before the two-day event concluded.[More