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Muharram/Ashura in India

Muharram (or Muharrum) is a gazetted holiday in India, marking the start of the Islamic year. It is a day off for many workers in India.

Is Muharram/Ashura a Public Holiday?

Muharram/Ashura is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Making time for prayer during Muharram.

©iStockphoto.com/Samina Imran

What Do People Do?

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Some Muslims fast during daylight hours on the ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th days of the month. They may also attend special prayer meetings in mosques or private homes.

Not all Muslim groups observe this occasion in the same manner. Some Muslims regard Muharram as the month of mourning, commemorating the Battle of Karbala. Muharram is primarily an Islamic holiday but people of other religions may also take part in or observe the Muharram activities in India.

Public Life

The tenth day of Muharram is a gazetted holiday in India so government offices, post offices and banks are closed on the day. Islamic stores, businesses and other organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours. Those wishing to use public transport on the day may need to contact the local transport authorities to check on timetables.

Large prayer meetings, parades and marches may cause local disruption to traffic. This is particularly true of areas of India with a predominantly Muslim population.

Background

Both Sunni and Shia Muslims observe the 10th day of Muharram in India and worldwide. Many Shia Muslims observe Muharram as a month of mourning. The 10th of Muharram marks the date when carnage took place at Kerbala and when Imam Hussain died in 680 CE. Imam Hussain was the Prophet Muhammed's grandson. Muslims believe that God created Adam and Eve on the 10th of Muharram, which was also when an Egyptian pharaoh and his soldiers drowned in the Red Sea later in time.

Muharram/Ashura Observances

Holiday currently only shown for years 2015–2020.

Note: During a gazetted holiday, government offices and most businesses are closed so people have a day off work.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SatOct 24Muharram/AshuraGazetted Holiday
2016WedOct 12Muharram/AshuraGazetted Holiday
2017SunOct 1Muharram/AshuraGazetted Holiday
2018FriSep 21Muharram/AshuraGazetted Holiday
2019TueSep 10Muharram/AshuraGazetted Holiday
2020SatAug 29Muharram/AshuraGazetted Holiday

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