Baptism, or masbuta, is the key ritual of this gnostic faith. Unlike Christians, Mandaeans may be baptised hundreds, even thousands of times over the course their life.Their Mandean liturgical language is Mandaic, an ancient Aramaic dialect. Like other religious minorities in Iraq, the Mandeans have suffered much persecution since the Iraq War.
This week marked Kahshuzahly, or Mandaean New Year's Eve, and Mandaeans around the world flocked to flowing rivers for a special ceremony.
Anwar Hasan, the 13-year-old daughter of a local priest, was one of the 100 or so Mandaeans who went to the banks of the Nepean River.
Baptisms, she said, are an opportunity to cleanse and refresh one's life and soul.
For more on this week's Mandean new-year celebrations, see here. And for many past posts on the Mandeans, follow the links that start there.
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