(Persia Digest) – The Mandaean New Year celebrations (followers of Yahya) have begun in Ahvaz as from Tuesday morning. The Mandaeans revere Adam. Their chief prophet is John the Baptist.

The followers of the faith spend twelve hours in baptism ceremonies in the river. The Mandeans spend 36 hours worshipping in their homes and praying for the good health of the people, their leader, and the sick. The New Year begins tomorrow 19 July.

Persia digest reports than the Mandaeans live in Khuzestan, southwestern Iran, and are also known as the Sabi. They are a religious minority spread across, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. They have baptism in common with the Christians and consider it a cleansing of the soul and body. It is written that Yahya baptised Christ. The word Sabi as a religion has been repeated three times in the Quran, Holy book of Muslims, alongside Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.

The Mandaean script has been registered on Iran’s list of intangible heritage. It is written from right to left without dots. Their holy book is called the Ginza Raba, which is the teachings of Adam and his son, Seth.

The Mandaeans number 70 thousand in Iraq and 25 thousand in Iran. Civil wars and the presence of Daesh in Iraq and Syria forced many of them to emigrate to other countries.

Their tribe left Palestine for Iran under the Ashkanid due to pressures exercised on them by the Jews. As they required water for the religious ceremonies, they settled alongside the Tigris and Karun rivers. Today, their spiritual leadership is in Ahvaz, where around 7000 are resident.

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