KARBALA, Iraq (AP) — Millions of Shiites from around the world are making their way this week to the holy shrines in the Iraqi city of Karbala, a pilgrimage that's as much about community as it is about religion.
The shrines are of two revered Shiite imams: Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad' grandson, and his half-brother Abbas who died in the 7th century in the Battle of Karbala. The pilgrimage, known in Arabic as the Ziara, marks the 40th day of mourning of the anniversary of Hussein's death.
Pilgrims stream toward Karbala on foot.
Along the roads, stalls set up by charities, mosques, and devotional groups see to it that no traveler goes hungry. Cooks prepare vast amounts of stewed lamb, grilled fish, fresh bread, and rice for the pilgrims, refusing payment for the meals.