An event which is commemorated by many Shi‘a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, which took place on the 10th of Muharram in 61 AH/ 680 AD. ‘Ashura had been observed as early as the time of the fourth Imam Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin. The ‘Ashura event historically developed to become a popular religious and artistic phenomenon which comprises several rituals including the ziyara (visit) to the shrine of Imam al-Husayn, and the recitation of the marathi (elegies) by someone known as al-na’ih (professional mourner), at places called Majalis al-Ta‘ziya (commemorative centres). Commemoration of ‘Ashura was greatly encouraged and became a major public event under the Abbasids. Under the Buydis, in 962 CE, ‘Ashura was declared a day of public mourning in Baghdad. Subsequently, special edifices called Husayniyya were built for the ‘Ashura celebrations. Under the dynasty of the Shi‘i Safawids in Iran (1501-1722), ‘Ashura commemorations underwent significant elaboration, and these new forms came to influence many other parts of the Shi‘i world, where the Husayniyya became more popular. At present, in Shi‘a majority countries such as Iraq and Iran, ‘Ashura has even become a national holiday.