Muharram festival is celebrated to honor the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. The festival begins on the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and lasts for 10 days. It is said that during this month only, the soldiers of Yazid, a Muslim ruler, surrounded Hazrat Imam Hussain, along with his family and followers at a place called Karbala in Iraq. In the days that followed, they were denied food and water and many of them were even eliminated.

Since that day, Muharram is observed to commemorate Imam Hussain. In some parts of the world, meetings are held in honor of the martyrs, where speeches are given as a tribute. However, the Shia sect of Muslims follows a different tradition. They wear black through the duration of the festival as it is regarded as a color of mourning. During the first nine days, Majalis (assemblies) are organized in the morning, where people talk about the incident that took place at Karbala.

On the 10th day of Muharram, large processions with people holding banners and carrying paper and bamboo replicas of the tomb of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his people are taken out in the streets. Some of the Muslims also hit themselves with a sharp metal tied to chain to express their pain and sorrow. The Moharram processions also are taken out on the streets of New Delhi, the capital India. At times, a magnificently adorned white horse is also included in the procession, as a symbol of the empty mount of Hazrat Imam Hussain after his martyrdom. Just as other places, the members of the Shia community set up drinking posts to serve water and juices, free of charge, to everyone in Delhi as well.