The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

A Christian Tradition In Rojava


(ANF/NERGİS BOTAN/DERİK) May is a holy month for Christians. It is a month of flourishing and of blessings. For the Christian world Mother Mary is the mother of blessings. Christians believe that their prayers are answered in this month. In Rojava, Christian women adorn themselves with the style of clothes they believed to have been worn by Mother Mary in order for their prayers to be more effective. These are clothes that cover the body from the neck to the feet and are tied off with a white belt. On top of this dress they wear a white shoal and white shoes.

The color of the dress changes according to the people and their requests. A ‘Qedis’ is a holy figure in the local Christian religion. Depending on which Qedis they want to reach the color of the dress will change. For example if one’s prayers are intended for Mother Mary then blue is the color required, while for those who want their prayers to go to Jesus then red is the color. There are also black and brown dresses.

After these dresses are sown they are placed under the bible inside the church during Sunday mass, and it is believe this brings them holiness and blessings. After these dresses are worn.

Throughout the month of May these women go to the church every day and pray the Hail Mary. Those who wear these dresses must be clean and pure. They must not commit any sin through the entire month. Women of all ages can wear these dresses. Boys under 18 may also wear the brown dresses.

The dresses are worn according to the day of the month. However the day should fall on a odd number of the month. For example May 13th, 21st, 25th or 31st. It can also be worn throughout the entire month. According to the belief it is a necessary condition that it be worn on an odd day in May or until the following odd day. But the original practice was to wear it throughout the month of May. But a Christian woman who is unable to wear it the dress at the beginning of the month, she may make up for the lost days by wearing the dress for as many days into the month of June. This tradition has changed slightly  over time, and even if the number of days as decreased the objective is a complete an entire month.

May 15th is known as ‘Berebeyt’ day. It takes is importance as the day on which Mary gives her blessing to the ears of wheat. Because the Mother Mary Church in the village of Berebeyt in Derik was constructed on May 15th this day is counted as sacred. Syriacs, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Armenians come to this church for mass.

The Berebeyt village church is prefered for worship on May 15th. People walk tens of miles barefoot to this church in order to renew their faith. In general Christians in the Cizîre region worship in this church. Following mass they celebrate with open-air picnics.


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