Shi'ite Muslim worshippers praying in Iraq's holy city of Karbala on Tuesday during commemorations for Ashura, a religious day marking the slaying of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein in the seventh century in a revolt.
The day falls each year on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, it corresponded with Tues- day.
Ashura is marked by all Muslims, and commemorations can include a voluntary fast.
But the day is a major part of the religious calendar for Shi'ite Muslims, for whom it is a solemn occasion to mourn the death of Imam Hussein in AD680 at Karbala in modern-day Iraq.
Though the self-flagellation aspect of events marking the day has become best known, observing Muslims also conduct re-enactments of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, and take part in parades and displays of fire-spinning.