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Muharram/Islamic New Year in Canada

Many Muslims in countries such as Canada observe the start of the Islamic New Year on the first day of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar.

Muslim man praying.
Many people of Islamic faith engage in prayer during Muharram.
Many people of Islamic faith engage in prayer during Muharram.
©iStockphoto.com/Wando Studios

What Do People Do?

Muslims in Canada choose to fast during Muharram, although fasting is not obligatory. Many Muslims also engage in voluntary prayer, including evening prayer, during Muharram. Some Islamic organizations in Canada host lectures and sessions regarding the mourning associated with the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali (also known as Imam Hussain) that occurred in 680 CE. Some people also read books about Islam to increase their knowledge on the teachings of Islam.

The Day of Ashura (or Ashurah) is known as the most sacred day in the month of Muharram. It is the 10th day of Muharram and is a day of fasting for many Sunni Muslims. Many Shi’a Muslims use the day to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali in 680 CE. Some Muslims give to charity on this day.

Public Life

The first day of Muharram is an Islamic observance and is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada.

Background

Muharram is the first month in the Islamic year and a time of mourning and peace. It is forbidden for Muslims to fight during this month. A number of important events in Islamic history have occurred during this month. These include:

  • The Battle of Karbala (currently in Iraq) in the year 680 CE, which enabled Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammed, and his army to enter the city on the first day of the month.
  • The restriction of Husayn ibn Ali's access to water on the seventh day.
  • The death of Husayn ibn Ali and his clan (Ahl al-Bayt) on the 10th day of the month.

The Shi'a and Sunni denominations of Islam attach different weights to these events and mark them in different ways.

About Muharram/Islamic New Year in other countries

Read more about Muharram/Islamic New Year.

Muharram/Islamic New Year Observances

Note: Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
WedDec 82010Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
SunNov 272011Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
ThuNov 152012Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
TueNov 52013Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
SatOct 252014Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
ThuOct 152015Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
MonOct 32016Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
FriSep 222017Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
WedSep 122018Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
SunSep 12019Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 
ThuAug 202020Muharram/Islamic New YearMuslim 

Quick Facts

The first day of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar, marks the start of the Islamic New Year.

Muharram/Islamic New Year 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

Muharram/Islamic New Year 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Muharram/Islamic New YearEnglish
MouharramFrench
Muharram (Islamisches Neujahr)German
Note: Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in October 2016 in Canada

United Nation Holiday on October 3, 2016

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