Muharram celebrations (the date varies from year to year) are also
observed with much fanfare. Muharram is not a festival in the celebratory
sense as it mourns the Karbala tragedy when Imam Husain, grandson of
Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the early days of Islamic history. This
occasion is an important feature in the calendar of Lucknow as it is the
principal Shi'ite Indian city since the time of the nawabs. This is also a
spectacle of penitence as followers scourge themselves with whips at the
Bara Imambara. It is observed in different ways in various parts of India.
Profusely decorated taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr's tomb), embellished with gilt and mica are carried through city streets. Mourners beat their breasts lamenting and grieving over the murder, accompanied by drum beats. Wrestlers and dancers enact scenes depicting the battle at Karbala and at each step young men beat their breasts crying "Husain! Husain!" in collective sorrow.
This tragedy is observed with great passion in Lucknow, in particular, as it is the centre of Shia culture and religious activities, and accordingly a large number of taziyas and the alams (standards of Hazrat Imam Hussain's army) are taken out all over the city. In places other than Lucknow, the taziyas are taken out and buried in the local burial ground known as the Karbala.
Lucknow Mahautsav , a 10-day program begins on the 25th November and ends on the 5th December. Processions, kathak, gazals and sitar recitals evoke the old-world charm. A brilliant showcase of the arts, crafts, and above all the heavenly cuisine of Awadh, the festival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Deva Mela - The annual urs of Haji Waris Ali Shah is celeberated during Oct. - Nov. months at Deva 10 km. from Barabanki. This fair attracts pilgrims from as far as Pakistan and the Middle East Countries. The shrine of the Sufi Saint is much revered by Muslim pilgrims all over the world