"The Arbaeen march has always existed,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Tuesday. "But (such a) great movement that is a very beautiful and magnificent symbol of the presence of Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) followers and devotees did not exist before.”
The Leader said that it is an outstanding event and a blessing from God, adding, "We should be thankful to God” for it.
Arbaeen pilgrimage marks one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.
Arbaeen comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein (AS).
It falls on Thursday, November 9, this year.
Each year, a huge crowd of Shias flock to Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites. Many of them also visit Imam Ali’s (AS) holy shrine in Najaf.
In the past few years, around 20 million pilgrims from all over the world took part in the mourning ceremonies in the Iraqi holy cities marking Arbaeen.