Arbaeen, or fortieth day, is a culmination of mourning cermonies in the month of Safar that laments the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
People from various countries, from the East to the West, have congregated in Karbala to take part.
Millions of pilgrims have been marching to the holy city of Kabala to hold the ziyarah (pilgrimage) at the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura.
The marches have started nearly two weeks ago and they culminated in today's mournings.
Men and women, young and old, toddlers in prams and elderly pushed in wheelchairs, are commemorating Arbaeen.
The pilgrims stream past 'mokebs', or roadside service stations, which hand out free food ranging from scrambled eggs to boiled turnips. Full meals are served at midday and in the evenings, also freely.
This year, around 27 million people visited Iraq from various countries.
The is the first major Arabaeen cermoney since 2019 when coronavirus broke out.
Mokebs are set up voluntarily by people whole believe that offering services to the pilgrims will help them go the Imam’s way and strengthen the brotherhood among the Muslims.
The Iranians account for the largest number of foreign nationals entering Iraq for the commemoration. The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Visa Department has said that so far over 3 million visas were issued for Iranian nationals wishing to travel to Iraq.
Six border crossings with Iraq, among them Mehran, Chazabeh, and Shalamcheh, have been operating over the past two weeks to pass the travelers to Iraq. Since last week, they worked round the clock to provide service to all of the marchers.
The event draws people from various countries. From the European countries, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Armenia, Lebanon, Rusia, and the US and many other countries. Many travel to Iran and walk to the holy city through the Iranian border crossings. Travelers from neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey have been arriving in Iran from the northwestern and eastern borders. Tabriz and Zahedan cities have been taking in the pilgrims from the four neighboring countries.
The security conditions are stable in Karbala, said the Iraqi security officials. Iraqi army and policy are mobilized to provide the security for the multi-million pilgrimage.
But for those who cannot get a chance to travel to Iraq, there are commemoration ceremonies in various world countries. In Iran, people, in large numbers, turn out to mark the day in the capital Tehran and other provincial centers.