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Ancient Kurdish rain ritual revived in Syria as drought continues

Kurdish farmers in the countryside of Qamishli revive an ancient ritual called Ziwa, or the Bride of the Rain, to invoke rain after seasons of drought.
Syrian Kurds parade a doll, made of wood and colorful fabric, as they perform the "Bride of the Rain" ritual in the northeast city of Qamishli on Nov. 19, 2021.

QAMISHLI, Syria — Following successive droughts, residents of al-Malikiyah and Qamishli in northeastern Syria are reviving an ancient ritual called Ziwa, or Bride of the Rain, to ward off any further rain delays.

And their efforts may have paid off. On Jan. 2, rain showered the Syrian city of Qamishli and its surrounding towns. Shihab Abdo, 70, who owns a plot of agricultural land in the village of Shorck in the countryside of Qamishli, told Al-Monitor, he performed the ancient "Bride of the Rain" ritual on Jan. 1 along with other residents of the village to ward off drought. "God answered our prayers and it rained the next day. We are happy with the rain that will save our seasons from drought," he said.

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