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Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz, by Isya Joseph, [1919], at

p. 178





Circumcision, the Eucharist and baptism are the three religious rites administered by the followers of Yezid. The first rite is optional. But with baptism the case is different; it is a matter of obligation. When a child is born near enough to the tomb of Šeiḫ ‘Adî to be taken there without great inconvenience or danger, it should be baptized as early as possible after birth. The ḳawwals in their periodical visitations carry a bottle or skin filled with holy water to baptize those children who cannot be brought to the shrine. The mode of baptism is as follows: A šeiḫ carries the baby into the water, takes off his clothes, and immerses him three times. After the second time, putting his hand on the child's head, he mutters, "Hol hola soultanie Azid, tou bouia berḫe Aizd, saraka rea Azid." ("Hol hola! 1 Yezid is a sultan. Thou hast become a lamb of Yezid; thou mayest be a martyr for the religion of Yezid.") The parents are not admitted to the domed shack of the spring; they remain outside.

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[paragraph continues] The šeiḫ is paid for his services by the father of the child. If the baby be a male, the gift must be more valuable than if it be a female.

Within twenty days from the time of baptism, a male child is circumcised. To perform the rite, two šeiḫs are employed. One holds the child in his lap, the other performs the operation. Before starting, he asks the child to say: "As berḫe Azide Sarum." ("I am the lamb of illuminating Yezid.") If he be too small to repeat, the šeiḫ who holds him repeats the sentence for him. All this is done in the presence of the parents, the relatives and the friends, amid rejoicing with the sound of the flute and the tambourine. When the ceremony is ended, the father of the child entertains all those present for seven successive days, during which period they dance, sing and eat the food sent to them by the friends and neighbors of the circumcised child. When this comes to an end, the two šeiḫs are presented with gifts. Then every one returns home. The reason why they observe the two rites, they say, is that if one does not work the other may, and neither is harmful.

As to the Eucharist, 2 its observance is local. It is usually administered by the Yezidis of a place called Ḫalitiyeh, a dependency of Diarbeker. It is observed in the following manner: They sit around a table. The chief among them holding a cup of wine, asks in Kurdish, "Ave Chia." ("What is this?") Then he himself answers, "Ave Kasie ‘Isaya." ("This is the cup of Jesus.") He continues, "Ave 'Isa naf

p. 180

rounishtiya." ("Jesus is sitting and present in it.") Having first partaken himself, he passes the cup around. The last person drinks all that is left in the cup.

There is another sacrament among the Yezidis. I refer to the rite of repentance. When persons quarrel, the guilty one, covering his face with his hands, betakes himself to the most venerable šeiḫ to confess his sin. The latter, giving the penitent instructions, enjoins him to kiss the hands of his enemy and those of the members of the priesthood. This having been done, if still no reconciliation be effected, the offending person, whoever he may be, must undergo again the same exercises. When peace is established, the penitent one slaughters a sheep and offers wine to the reconciled one and the clerical body. This rite of repentance, however, is not obligatory. 3


178:1 p. 185 Hol Hola is an interjection, or exclamation, expressing sudden emotion, excitement, or feeling. as "Oh!" "Alas!" "Hurrah!" "Hark!" in English.

179:2 P. Anastase: Al-Mašrik, vol. II, p. 309.

180:3 Ibid, p. 311.

Next: II. Some Other Religious Practices