Hundreds of Afghan Shi'ite Muslims in Kabul on tuesday were beating themselves with steel-tipped chains in memory of martyrdom of Mahomet's grandson, Hussein.
Imam Hussein was killed during battle in 680 AD in Kerbala, now part of modern day Iraq. Many Shi'ites mourn his death by trying to feel his pain.
"When I was 15 years old I started hitting myself to commemorate (Imam) Hussein's martyrdom with our blood. I used to hit my back with the chains but now I am hitting my chest. I have promised God that as long as I am alive I would shed my blood to mark Hussein's martyrdom because Hussein scarified himself for Allah," Abdul Aziz Karbalaiee said.
Shi'ite Muslims make up nearly 15 per cent of the Muslim world. Other countries marking Ashura, which falls on the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar, include Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Syria.