Observed on the ninth day of Muharram and the day before Ashura, Tassoua is a day that commemorates the bravery of Abbas ibn Ali during the Battle of Karbala. This battle was a military campaign in Karbala between Muhammad’s grandson Husayn and the larger military forces of Yazid I.

This battle is widely seen as the one that separated the Sunni and the Shi’a Islam. This is a day when Muslims go to Takiehs and mosques or attend mourning ceremonies. Since it’s a public holiday, it’s also a general day off for the population of Iran, and schools and most businesses are closed on this day.

The Battle Of Karbala

This battle was a military engagement that began on 10 Muharram, 61 A.H, or October 10th, 680 on the Gregorian calendar. It was a war between a small group of relatives and supporters of Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, and the much larger forces of Yazid I-the Umayyad caliph.

Yazid’s governor, Ibn Ziyad, sent a large force against Husayn. These forces promptly surrounded his camp and then opened negotiations with him. The leader of this force agreed to Husayn’s proposal to lift the siege long enough for him and his family to leave Iraq. However, this proposal was eventually vetoed by Shimr ibn Dhil-Jawshan-another Umayyad grandee-and Umar Ibn Sa’ad was given a grim order: destroy Husayn’s rebellion or be put to death himself.

On the seventh day of Muharram, Ibn Sa’ad cut off Husayn’s camp from the Euphrates River. On the ninth day, Husayn’s camp begin to exhaust its water stores and only had two options left: surrender or die from thirst. Husayn would end up fighting to the death.

Observing Tassoua

Tassoua, also known as Tasu’a, is a holiday that’s observed with a number of different rituals. People often attend mourning ceremonies or head to the mosques on this day. They also recite Ahadith and other poems in honor of Abbas ibn Ali. During these rituals, some people will practice self-flagellation and chanting.

There are also many processions on this day, with thousands of people often clogging the streets. Another tradition observed on this day is to feed the poor and hungry and to ask for Allah to grant them a blessing or a wish.

Where is it celebrated?
Iran (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
July 27 Thursday
Next year (2024)
July 16 Tuesday
Last year (2022)
August 7 Sunday