Ashura is a public holiday in Algeria observed on the tenth day of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Calendar. The word “Ashura” is Arabic for “tenth”.
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The whole month of Muharram is considered sacred in Islamic tradition, but 10 Muharram is considered doubly sacred. Not only is it part of the month in which Muhammad emigrated to Medina, but it’s the day on which Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad, was killed in the Battle of Karbala in Iraq.
Most Algerians are Sunni Muslims, and only the Shiites indulge in self-flagellation and other acts of mourning on Ashura. However, Sunnis still pray and sometimes fast on Ashura and also use this day to remember how Moses led the Jews over the Red Sea and defeated the armies of Pharaoh.