Delhi revises Muharram holiday date, to be observed on Friday
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and the second holiest month after Ramadan, which is the ninth month on the same calendar. The Delhi government on Wednesday modified the date of the public holiday associated with Muharram and declared it to be August 20 (Friday), instead of the previously designated August 19 (Thursday), in accordance with a decision taken by the central government.
The 10th day of Muharram is known as 'Ashura', during which Shia Muslims mourn the tragedy that befell the family of Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad; while Sunni Muslims practice fasting on Ashura. Although the month of Muharram began from August 11 in India, it is August 20 that will mark the day of Ashura. According to reports, this is the reason why the public holiday date for Muharram was revised from Thursday to Friday.
Delhi government's General Administration Department (GAD) had earlier declared the Muharram holiday on August 19 (Thursday) but changed it to Friday following a Union government's decision in this connection.
The Delhi government said in its official order that the date for the public holiday on account of Muharram was changed by the Union ministry of personnel under the central government. Accordingly, the holiday which was earlier declared on Thursday (August 19) was revised to Friday (August 20) for all government offices under the national capital territory (NCT) of Delhi.
"Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, has revised the holiday on account of Muharram from Thursday to Friday," an order issued by the city government read. "Accordingly, holiday on account of Muharram is declared on Friday (August 20, 2021) for all government offices under Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi."
Muharram is ten or twelve days shorter than the Gregorian calendar followed by the West. The word Muharram means ‘not permitted’ or ‘forbidden’ hence, Muslims are prohibited from taking part in activities like warfare and use it as a period of prayer and reflection.