Hundreds of members of the Shia Muslim community took part in an annual procession.

People gathered outside Shia Islamic Centre at the corner of Addison Street and Preston New Road in Blackburn just before midday on Sunday (August 6).

Group numbers swelled within the next hour as young and old prepared themselves to participate in the march, which was interrupted by a heavy rain shower at the start.

Participants, many barefoot, held banners and a coffin draped with a black cloth at the front of the march.

The sorrowful chants and rhythmic beating of the chests echoed through the narrow streets as the procession made its way down Addison Street and on to Devonport Road.

Every so often the groups would stop and the men would beat their chests as an expression of grief.  

The procession is a deeply personal and solemn event as it signifies the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Holy Prophet in 680 AD in Karbala, near Baghdad in Iraq.

Asian Image: Hundreds of members of the Shia community took part in an annual procession in Blackburn.

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The march is organised and marshalled by volunteers who are on hand to speak to any passers-by to explain the significance of the event.

Householders living in the area tend to watch from their windows or from their doorsteps as the group pass.

Later two horses joined the march as it made its way along Devonport Road.

No police officers were needed for the event with traffic disruption kept to a minimum.

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The event is known as Ashura and worldwide it is held on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram, the first month of the lunar calendar.

The march in Blackburn followed a similar event held on Manchester's Wilmslow Road recently and comes ahead of another procession in Burnley in the coming week.