Millions of pilgrims on Saturday have gathered in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala to commemorate Arbaeen of Imam Hussein (AS), the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shia Imam.
Pilgrims, which this year number 20 million from around the world, arrive in Karbala after trekking about 70 kilometers northward from the holy city of Najaf in a symbolic gesture honoring Imam Hussein (AS).
The pilgrims enter the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala up to two weeks before Arbaeen.
Foreign pilgrims from other countries also participate in the event, with tens of thousands entering Iraq notably from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Lebanon.
The pilgrims are greeted by the generous hospitality of the Iraqi people, who provide them with food, water, transport and accommodation needed for the journey.
Imam Hussein (AS) was martyred along with dozens of his companions during a last-stand battle against the tyrant of the time, Yazid I, more than thirteen centuries ago.
The martyrdom of Imam Hussein has turned into a symbol of righteous revolt and social and political reform.
Imam Hussein is a highly-venerated figure not only among Shia Muslims but also among Sunnis and people of other faiths.