IRAQI MANDEAN BRIDES ARE BLESSED DURING WEDDING CEREMONY ON THE TIGRIS
RIVER IN BAGHDAD.
Five Iraqi Mandean brides are blessed by a priest speaking the ancient
Aramaic language during a wedding ceremony in Baghdad June 8, 2003.
Iraqi devotees of an obscure religion who take John the Baptist as
their central figure perform virginity tests on their brides and take a
dip in the murky Tigris river every Sunday to purify the soul. Most of
the worldAEs 20,000 or so Mandeans live in southern Iraq and
southwestern Iran. REUTERS/Faleh Kheiber