The customs related to the invocation of rain
The fear of drought and the lack of rain for long periods, has always induced people since ancient times to perform different rites and customs to invoke the rain; in the various areas of Iran there are also particular rituals with similar origins and a great variety of forms.
Some of them are related to the pre-Zoroastrian period, others originate in the Zoroastrian myths and some are related to other ethnic groups that either came to this country and remained there and the Iranians in a continuous contact with them absorbed some of the their customs individually or in groups such as: the prayers of the rain, the sacrifice, the ceremony of the marriage of water and the washing of coffins, the creation of dolls, the preparation of bread and food with revealing value, acceptance of gifts from others etc. .. all rituals that are performed to invoke the rain.
In general, these customs can be divided into 11 groups, although some ritual is a combination, that is a set of two or some other custom:
1. Rite of prayer and supplication: the most usual and perhaps the most ancient of the ways of invoking rain
2. Prepare the soup: prepare the soup or halim and share it among the inhabitants or the poor
3. Theft of a cow: stealing cows from nearby villages
4. Interruption of veneration: stop the veneration of sacred phenomena or simulation of rebellion
5. "Rain-bearing" stones: placing the stones in a particular position next to the graves and shrines
6. Untie a spell: resort to the spell like setting the ribbon on fire to free rain from the constraint that holds it back
7. To invoke the rain with the donkey: to reserve attentions to donkeys by dressing them and embellishing them with precious fabrics and jewels
8. Divination: optimism and assumption of divinatory behavior and presage
9. Carrying around the coffins and banner: carrying out actions such as carrying around the coffins, washing them, rotating the banner etc ...
10. Kuse gardi: bring the hairless and particular people around in the neighborhood
11. Carrying dolls around: carry around a doll with the appearance of a woman and sprinkle water on it
Apart from this subdivision, there are also other cases. Here we report the examples of rites cited in the subdivision:
1. Rite of prayer and supplication
Recite the rain prayer
The prayer "Astaghāseh" or the same to invoke the rain is recited in all the places of Iran. This takes place individually and in groups and in the presence of everyone in the mosques, in the places of collective prayer, in the desert and in the open space.
In some cases people bring children and even livestock with them. It is the custom that in the moment of prayer, the little ones of the cattle are separated from their mothers because they are believed to be pure and free from sin and that God will therefore have mercy on the people and rain.
In some areas when those who say Allah is great go to the place to recite the prayer of supplication of the rain, the local mullah with the black flag stands before them as in mourning and some mullahs walk barefoot with the tunic upside down and without a turban.
Those who pray in prayer time barefoot and take off their hat. After prayer they sacrifice a cow and share its meat with the poor along with other dishes.
In another place the villagers go near a spring near the village and, after having recited the prayer, they sacrifice a sheep and divide it among the poor. There is no set time for the prayer that can be recited on each day of the week although the priority is on Monday and after that on Friday.
In the book "Sahifeye Sajjādyeh" of the prayers of the rain it is said: "O very high creator, order your angels mercy so that our thirsty palate may be appeased with pure water; a rain that makes abundant clusters grow in the fields and in the pastures the breasts that are now deprived of them are overflowing with milk ".
In the city of Qāen, in the southern Khorāsān region, there is an ancient mosque called "rain prayer" which is used only for the rain invocation ceremony.
In some villages of Kāshmar, a group of elders fills a container of sheep droppings and then goes to a house and performs special prayers of the rain according to the number of excrement. While the elderly pray, none of the participants has the right to utter a word that is not a prayer.
In another village in Kāshmar, a group of peasant women on a specific night meets and chooses one among them during the draw ritual. This woman will have to in a way that no one will have to understand, steal the skirt of an elderly widow. When he has done so, he will inform the hairdresser who warns everyone on Thursday and asks the women to go to the sanctuary.
The women hear the cry, with great enthusiasm, fill all the jugs of water and walk towards the sanctuary. There they put the skirt on a wood and the water they brought with them pour it on it and all around the sepulcher washing the coffin.
At that point a woman sits on the korsi or on a stool and recites a homily and the others cry with a broken heart. Then they recite two rok'at of the hājjat prayer as a group and finally pray to rain.
In the south and south-west areas that part of the rite to invoke the rain that is accompanied by prayer and supplication is called "qable do'ā" or qable bārān "and is performed with a particular ritual.
In Māhshahr, a group sets off, takes a rooster in his arms and some people put on their shoulders the old saddlebags of sheepskin, carry a large wooden mortar, call for rain with prayers and hit the back of the rooster on the way. as long as it makes a sound; they believe that the rooster's noise also provokes the rooster of the sky (the thunder) and then it rains.
2-Prepare the soup: prepare the soup or halim and share it with the inhabitants and the poor
The custom of preparing soup in most cities and villages is done in different ways. This ritual usually takes place next to the tekkyas, the Imāmzādeh, the sanctuaries, the hossenyehs, the local mosques or the Friday mosque of the city, next to the qanāt (culvert) of the village or around a sacred tree.
In this ceremony the ingredients necessary for the soup or halim are prepared with the collaboration of the people, the soup is prepared with a special ritual and reciting prayers and reading the Koran is divided between the poor and the inhabitants. Every person who eats the soup prays for the rainfall.
In some areas, a bowl of soup is brought to the roof of the mosque and is thrown into the gutter, in another place a portion of this food is spread on the roof because it is believed that the birds eat it and that it will rain or that God will rain to wash the roof of the house.
In the town of Delijān, before dividing the soup, some of it is thrown into the opening of the culvert. The important thing is that the ingredients needed to prepare the soup must be of the best quality.
This soup in different areas has different names, for example in Kermān it is called "Hossein Soup", in Osku "Soup of Fātemeh", in Tafresh "Tormāj", in Kazerun "Soup Ou" etc ..
Examples of the custom of preparing soup
If it does not rain, a ritual called "Suii Qāzān" is organized among the torkmeni. Locals on a Wednesday sacrifice a sheep and go to the mosque reciting special prayers. While praying, the hands are stretched, the fingers are pointing downwards and lightning, thunder and rain fall are invoked.
After praying and having eaten the meal in age groups up to 40 people together with the mullah head for people's houses, recite poems and collect flour. If the inhabitants of the house grant their wishes later with this flour they prepare the soup and distribute it among the people.
Shilun or Shilān
Shilun is a ritual to invoke the rain in the Māzandarān region in which all the villagers go together with the Imāmzādeh, the mosque, the tekkye or the large village square or out of it or around a sacred tree, pray and one of the seyyed (descendants of the Prophet) wets a corner of the cover of the Quran or washes the menbar (pulpit) with rose water or its pedestals or throws water on a seyyed.
Besides that, they all collect milk and rice and with them in some places they prepare the soup, they consume it and a part they throw it on the roof according to the belief that causes the rain.
3-The theft of cows: stealing cows from neighboring villages
In this ritual when it has not rained for a long time, in the west of the country as in Ilām, Lorestān, Kermānshāh, Kurdistān and some cities of Hamedān, a group of women and girls pretend to steal the cows of the adjacent village often from the common pasture near the two villages.
The women of the other villages who are aware of the facts, with a wooden stick to face the women who stole the cows, go to the camp and pretend to fight. Suddenly someone acts as guarantor and bets to bring the cows back to their owner and that in doing so it will rain.
Sometimes things do not end so simply because those who have stolen cows come back to their village cheerfully, count the cows and divide them among the people to take care of them. After a few days, some village chiefs among the owners of the cows go to the village elders guilty of theft to request with prayer and supplication their beasts.
These are returned on condition that the elderly guarantee that it rains. The warranty time is established by bargaining but in any case it does not exceed 10 days.
4. Stop veneration: stop the veneration of sacred phenomena or simulate rebellion
When the conduct of various customs has no influence on the fall of the rain, rituals are performed that apparently are the rupture of the veneration of sacred phenomena. In reality, people with these actions simulate a rebellion to rain.
For example, in Gonābād (Khorāsān Razavi region) they hold an orphan of 12 years inside the qanāt until he cries and tears pour into the canal. They are convinced that in this way God has mercy on them and soon it will rain or in Torbat-e Heydaryeh (Khorāsān Razavi region), a group of women steal their pants from an old woman (an ugly and unjustifiable action). Then with the dough of bread they prepare a doll called "bride made with the dough" and with the horn and other instruments head towards the well outside the neighborhood.
There they put the trousers they have stolen on to the bride made with the dough and throw it into the well. The women in the morning come back to the place, if the old woman's trousers have come to the surface this is the signal that it will rain.
Another example is that in Behbahān (Khuzestān region) during periods of drought, one of the overnight dwellers goes secretly to the house of the most faithful person in the area, breaking his bottle and pouring all the water stored on the ground.
The believer who wakes up at dawn, realizes that he does not even have a drop of water at home and can not even make ablutions. So he complains to God that he has mercy on him and makes it rain.
Sludge the water from the springs in the villages, which is a manifestation of irreverence towards the water owner, in ancient Anahita beliefs and in today's Hazrat-e Fātemeh Zahra (A), scatter the water on the seyed and throw it in the water are other examples of this custom.
Another ritual torkmeno for the invocation of the rain is the "ba salashmāq" in which the young bring havoc to a village that has a spring or a river and try to take some person among the inhabitants of the place and throw it into the water or with a bucket throws water on them (a sort of symbolic representation of the sacrifice for the river).
In this situation only the companions of the person taken have the right to help and save them.
5 - "Rain-bearing" stones: putting stones in a particular position next to graves and shrines.
In some areas near the tombs and shrines there are some stones that, according to popular belief, if they are placed in a particular position, favor the fall of the rain.
For example, in a village near Sareyn (Ardebil region), next to a sanctuary there is a large stone that during periods of prolonged drought, people move and throw in the river waiting for it to rain.
If it rains, the stone is put back in its place with special ceremonies. Other examples are found in Kadkan (Khorāsān Razavi region) where next to the "Pir Yāhu" shrine, located on a mountain, there is a large white stone that people when performing the ritual of the rain soup, move a little and then pray and invoke rain or in the area of the Bakhtiāri and in the dividing line between the summer and winter abode, there is a mausoleum called Shāh Qotb Al-Din much revered by the people. Next to this sanctuary there are 3 cylindrical stones and on the tip of each one you can see a small cavity.
When there is drought, people next to these stones that they believe are rain-bearers, while sacrificing a cow and a sheep, pray to rain.
6-Dissolve the spell: use magic to set fire to the rope to free rain from the constraint that holds it
In the dissolution of the spell or in the liberation of rain from the bond that holds it, the elements of magic play a role. For example in Lorestān (Fārs region) there is the ritual "bastan-e chehel kachalān (lett: bind 40 balvi) in which in the night some girls get together and one of them takes a rope, sits in the middle and each of the girls does the name of some bald among the inhabitants of their village or of the other villages on condition that they are known.
The girl with the rope in her hand in the name of each bald knots the rope and then one of the girls steals a jug from a jealous old woman's house. Then the girl who knots it goes on a roof whose eaves is turned towards the qibla (direction of Mecca) and while she utters words it burns the rope, pours the water of the pitcher over it and finally breaks the pitcher.
In fact, it is believed that by doing so the spell of the rain is dissolved. In Jahrom (Fars region) there is a custom similar to that of "bind 40 balvi", with the only difference that after setting fire to the rope, its ashes are thrown into a stolen container that is tied to the gutter facing the qibla or pass under it while in Fasā (Fārs region) the ashes of the rope are thrown into the flowing water.
In the village of Chugām (Gilān region) according to the name of 7 calvi they make 7 knots on the rope and tie them to the tree, then with the intention of beating the bald they beat on the rope with a wooden stick. In the village of Maklavān (Gilān region), write the name of the bald on the bark of a type of tree and hang it from another tree.
In Shahre Kord (Chahar Mahāl and Bakhtiāri region), according to the name of the bald 40, they tie 40 pieces of wood with a rope, then hang the rope on a wall and stick with a stick on the pieces of wood. A person is a guarantor of the bald so that they are not beaten and promises that in a few days it will rain.
In Masjed Soleimān (Khorāsān region) the name of the bald is written on a piece of paper and it is hung on a tree and in doing so it is believed that after a few days it will rain.
The people of the island of Qeshm (Hormozgān region) consider the drought as deriving from the fate and misfortune that through the Peri damages the men and to remove it a part of the food prepared with the meat of a sacrificed animal is taken to give it to the Peri and placed in the corner of the courtyard of the mosque. They do not salt this food because they are convinced that the Peri do not like salt; in this same area the black men go out of the city, prepare some food without salt and there they pour it on the ground so that the creatures that have tied the rain release it.
Burn the skull of a dead donkey and throw the ashes into the canal or flowing water, write on a piece of paper and stone and hang it on the tree or throw it into the water, steal a jug from the house of one of the government men or by the one who washes the corpses, fortune tellers and seers or even burying the skull of a dead mule in the cemetery etc ... are other actions that are performed to dissolve the spell of rain.
7-Invocation of the rain with the donkey: give affection and attention to the donkey, making it up and embellishing it using precious fabrics and jewels.
Going against the interpretation according to which the donkey's skull is used as an adjunct to the forces of evil, in some rites of invoking the rain of Iran to the live donkey as an auxiliary of the forces that carry the rain special attention is reserved.
For example in Anārak (Esfahān region) a donkey is made up with kohl (obtained from antimony) and a red powder, is embellished with precious fabrics and jewels; then in a group they take him up a mountain, there they celebrate dancing and then return to the village and turn him into the alley; finally they share the previously prepared rain soup with the poor.
At Kāshmar (Khorāsān Razavi region) tie colored handkerchiefs to the donkey's neck and the person in the saddle of the donkey plays the tambourine; even the local youths dancing and clapping while singing surround him and take him to the hammam.
Here they throw water on the animal's head and still dancing and singing they return to the village qanāt and wash the donkey again. The interesting thing is that at the same time they burn the skull of a dead donkey on which some curse was written.
In Dezful (Khuzestān region) a white donkey is led to a shrine and his legs are tied. A person with a cleaver pretends to kill him but at that moment someone comes who guarantees the donkey that for example rains after three days.
In some areas, instead of donkey, a cow is used that is made up and embellished with jewels.
8 - Divination: optimism and fulfillment of divination actions and presage
One of the social mechanisms that under difficult conditions facilitates the endurance of difficulties is optimism and the harbinger of good future situations. In some areas of Iran in periods of drought, the implementation of divining behaviors and the omen is widespread; for example, in the village of Jahre (Fars region) when the rain falls late, people on Saturday night eaves at the doors of the houses and this is a kind of divination.
To do this people are eavesdropping at the door of three houses, if we talk about rain, water or milk, according to their rain, if instead the dialogue is about hunger and thirst, this is interpreted as the extension of the drought and lack of rain.
In Neishābur (Khorāsān Razavi region) children at the end of the "chuli fazak" ritual accumulate, on the one hand, the things to eat that they have collected by going from house to house. People, considering the color of food, give different interpretations on the fall of snow and rain.
If the dishes are mostly white, then it is a sign that it will snow, if they are mostly yellow and golden, that is, as the color of wheat and barley, it is certain that it will rain heavily.
In another place, people prepare a kind of bread on one side of which he makes a sign with his finger and throws it from the top of a mountain into the water of a spring that flows at the base of the mountain; if this bread falls into the water on the side of the sign the rain will certainly fall, otherwise it will not rain for a certain period.
In Sabzevār (Khorāsān Razavi region) people burning the donkey's head, choose a robust man who is blindfolded and given a stick; then it is turned around itself for 3 times; he with his eyes closed must find the head of the donkey and with the stick must hit it strongly three times; if due to these blows the head of the animal falls into the stream is a good sign based on the fact that after 3-4 days it will rain, otherwise the drought will continue.
9-Carry around the coffins and the banner: do things like carry around the coffins, wash them and rotate the banner
Carrying out the coffins, washing them and rotating the banner are actions that are part of other customs to invoke the rain and that take place in similar ways. For example, in Shahr-e Gerāsh (Fars region), a group of women and men have a child from 8 to 10 in a coffin; over it is put a white cloth, the coffin is loaded on the shoulders and people, singing the song that calls the rain, goes out of town.
In Ferdous (Southern Khorāsān region) four unmarried girls, loaded a coffin on their shoulders and brought before a canal, place it there until the water passes under the coffin, a custom that in Tabriz the elders perform carrying the coffin to a spring or to Esfahān (Fārs region) a group of men together with a mullah of the city who has put on his back a tunic on the reverse, he loads the coffin on his shoulders and with the plates, the drum, the trumpet and the banner goes to the place of the collective prayer of the city reciting a poem invoking rain;
Also in Shushtar (Khuzestān region) in the Maqām Hossein mausoleum there is a palm tree and in periods of drought and to invoke the rain a group of women goes there, if they charge it on their shoulders and head for another Imāmzādeh.
Rotating the banner that in Iran has a long history and reflects the religious behavior of the people, like the custom of carrying around the coffin, takes place with different traditions. For example, in some areas of Khorāsān, among a group of children one is chosen as a "teacher" who puts on his shoulders the banner; the others, too, set off behind him, reciting poems to invoke the rain and make their way to the houses of the people.
They collect some food with which they make soup which they then share with each other and with others. In another place they take a tall wood and wrap it with 40 pieces of cloth and call it "alam-e chāl ghis" (banner with 40 braids) and people while reciting poems to invoke rain spin this banner.
A ritual called "alam bandi" and "alamvācini" (opening of the banner) in some areas of the Gilān region takes place only in periods of drought and with the aim of requiring rain.
10-Kusegardi: turn hairless people and details in the neighborhood
Kusegardi or kusegelin or still kuse barneshatan is among the most ancient and various rituals that was widespread in Iran and was linked to the request for blessing and rain. In many areas of Iran like Azerbaijan, Ardebil, Zanjān, Kurdistān, Hamedān and Arak takes place a ritual by the name kuse, kusā, kusechupānha and kuse and naghāldi to request blessing, increased livestock fertility and rain.
Here we mention some of these rituals:
Hel hele Kuse
Hel hele kuse or kuse gardāni, is a ritual of invoking rain among the Bakhtiāri. This ritual is performed by men at night during the drought season. A person who usually has previous experience in all rites of kuse gardāni, is chosen as hairless and is made up like a monster, his face is dyed black, two horns are put on his head, he is dressed in ugly clothes and a large bolt is hung on his neck. Then, while some men and young men follow him, they head for the doors of houses and tents. During the journey and in the darkness of the night, they sing a song that joins the sound of the clasp that resounds.
The inhabitants of the house approach with a bowl of flour, another gift or some money and give it to the group, in most cases it is a little flour. The gifts are placed in an envelope that is on the shoulders of one of the companions. At this juncture, one of the family members surprises the group by throwing a bowl of water at them.
With the harvested flour, a large bread is prepared in the mixture of which previously a red bead has been placed. The bread is divided between the members, he who touches the red bead is beaten to pretend and symbolically until one of the elders acts as guarantor. He, after having recited the prayer, asks God that he should not lose his reputation in the face of these people and grant his blessing in the rain.
Kol ali kuse
In the Chahār Mahāl and Bakhtiāri region, to invoke the rain, a hairless person (without a beard and mustache) is chosen, who is put a beard and mustache, a large leather bag is placed on his head, he is dressed in loose clothes and given a bag to hold on the shoulder.
Then many people take it and in a group they go to the doors of the houses and start reciting poems to request rain. The home or tent owner throws water on their heads and gives them some flour or wheat.
This continues until the night. Then, with the collected flour, a bread is prepared in which a small wood is also hidden. When the bread is divided to be consumed in the presence of the group, the one who finds the wood is taken and beaten until a person arrives who guarantees for him and says that for example in a certain day it will rain. If it does not rain until the established day, the guarantor is beaten until another person comes who takes his place. This fact lasts until it rains.
Shāh Bārun (The Rain King)
In Bāft, Kermān during the drought the peasants chose a person as "king of the rain" who was responsible for carrying out the ritual of the same name. They usually chose someone who had fallen into the water as a child and had been saved. The king of the rain also chose a minister for himself and the other peasants were considered his soldiers.
The king of the rain wore a tall hat made of leather or paper, a cloak on the reverse, a shoulder strap made of bones and sheep's ribs, and he wore the horns of the cow and chamois around his neck. He hung a sieve on the right side and a large, long bone on his left and took a sword in his hand. Then he dyed his face with white flour and black cheeks with soot.
His soldiers sat him down on a load-bearing throne, which were loaded on his shoulders and at night made him turn in the alleys; A group with instruments and with the drum also accompanied them. The king of the rain along the way recited poetry invoking the rain and the people after every emistichio repeated some parts of these poems.
On the first night of this rite these people came to whatever house they came, the owner sprinkled water on them, the second night the people to the soldiers of the rain king in each house gave them one or two branches, the third night the inhabitants of each house offered some flour, grain, money or something to eat.
If it rained during these three nights, everyone would rejoice; otherwise with the gifts of the people they prepared a kind of bread and in it they put a bead and they divided it among the people. Whoever found the bead was tied to a tree as a sinner and responsible for the lack of rain and was strongly beaten until an old man arrived and became his guarantor, promising that it would soon rain.
If by the specific day it did not rain, again the sinner or his guarantor was tied to the tree and beaten. This ritual in the city of Bāft is called "Luk bāzi" and the character accompanying another person is also called "zan-e Luk".
The Kuse gardāni rite with different names, with the same principles but with differences in clothes, instruments, various characters and even with the use of symbolic dolls and quadrupeds like the horse is always the same; in other areas it is also carried out in a simpler way or in a more detailed manner.
The kuse gardāni ritual and the preparation of the bread or halvā which is a part of it in some areas has changed into two independent rites and each takes place on its own and even in the east, particularly in the central, southern and eastern areas of the Khorāsān, the character of the king of the rain is a scarecrow with the appearance of a man who is taken on his shoulders and the ritual is performed. Also the custom of the bead in these areas, in the whole of the rites to invoke the rain, has been preserved.
The people of Buyer Ahmad in the Kohgiluyeh region and Buyer Ahmad call the prayers of the rain "Habarse". When the rain does not fall for a long time and people are involved with the lack of water, a large number of people from each village as soon as the night comes together, each takes two pieces of stone in hand and sets off on a journey and while they beat the stones together they recite a poem to invoke the rain.
They go to the door of every house and the people throw a bowl of water over them and they recite another poem; with the collected flour they prepare a dough and put three pebbles in it, then they make a roll with the dough and the people voluntarily take it. The person who is responsible for the dough knows who took the roll containing the pebbles. So he discovers it and gives the scroll to those around to examine it because they believe it is the fault of this person if it has not rained so far.
So they start beating him until one or two trusted people become guarantors and promise that in a set time (from 3 to 7 days) it will rain. Then they leave him, if in this period of time it does not rain they take the guarantor and beat him too until a third person arrives who takes his place.
This event continues with these modalities until it rains.
11 - Carry the doll around: carry around the doll in the form of a woman and sprinkle water on it
One of the widespread customs to request rain is that women and girls invoke the rain, create a doll with the appearance of a woman and in some cases these or children take it as "atalu", they go to the gates of the houses and while they recite poems to invoke the rain, they ask people what they need. The inhabitants of each house, after throwing water on the doll, give the children what is required.
Children these foodstuffs as flour, oil, wheat or rice or use them to identify a responsible person who think it was the cause of the lack of rainfall, or with the goal that will soon rain, divide it among the needy; this ritual from the point of view of the quality of the performance has many similarities with that of the kuse.
These dolls in various areas have different names and aspects, for example in Yazd and in some cities of Kermān, they are called "Geshniz", "Geshnizu" or "Gol-e Geshnizu"; in another place "Shāh Barun", "Chemchegelin", "Arus-e chemche", "Buke Vārāneh", "Arus-e Bārān", "Jamjameh (chemche) khātun", "Dodu", "Sugelin" and "Yegmurgelin ".
Chemche gelin and chemche khātun
This theatrical custom is widespread in various parts of Iran such as the Gilan and Qazvin regions and is staged by children; one of these holds a "chemche" or a large wooden spoon. The children dress the ladle with the clothes of a doll and call it cheche gelin (arus-e bārān, bride of the rain). One of the children takes it in his hands and along with others while he sings the song arus-e cheche and invokes the rain, to receive gifts he goes to the houses.
At each house the owner throws a bucket or container of water on the doll and gives the children some legumes, something to eat or some money. Finally the children with what they have collected prepare a soup and divide it among themselves and among the needy.
This ritual likewise takes place in other parts of Iran with similar aspects and names, usually in all these rituals a song is sung in a group to invoke the rain.
Dolls to invoke the rain
The customs to request rain everywhere in this country have different forms but in some areas dolls of different appearance are fixed elements in prayers related to rain; some of them are as follows:
Atalu is the name of a traditional pseudo-doll that is created in Birjand to invoke the rain. Atalu Matalu is the other name of this doll. In the dialect of Khorāsān Atalu means someone who dresses distractedly and does not wash himself. In these areas this doll, after being created, is carried around in the village while reciting poems to invoke the rain.
Buke Vārān in the Kurdish dialect means bride of the rain. Kurdish children create this doll to plead the rain and take part in a traditional representation of dolls that is particular and unique in its kind. Buke Vārāneh in the various areas takes place with different poems and rites.
In the city of Ferdous the rain doll is called Chuli Qazak. It is customary for the children to pick up the doll and set off for the field and alleyways, reciting poetry and sometimes going to the houses and receiving food from the landlord such as: chickpeas, raisins and legumes. In some cities even widowed women perform this ritual in their own particular way.
Finally, the children throw water on the doll and sometimes dip his head in the water to mean that God will not let them down and it will rain.
The katrā gishe doll is made with a wooden spoon in the Gilān region and in the various areas of this region has names like: katrā gelin, katrā gishe, tork leili and kuku leili.
The children carried the bride of the rain around the alleys of the village, reciting poems for her whose content concerned the request for rain and the description of the hard life of the people. They went around all the villages singing and from each house they received a little rice, something to eat and a container and arrived at a roundabout they cooked and ate the food together.
The receptacles were returned but the skimmer and the wooden spoon with which they made the doll did not return it to the owner until it rained.
Chuli Chaghal, the rain doll is a colander or cypress wood skimmer that children in the villages of Sabzevar and in the area of Western Khorāsān dress and recite poems to invoke the rain: it has often been created and used in religious rituals that has become resistant, so to speak chaghal. In the local jargon of Sabzevār is a custom or a type of traditional prayer to invoke the rain.
The children carried the doll more than anything else to the homes of the seyyed or people bearing the name of the Prophet (s), Imam Ali, Hazrat-e Fātemeh, Imam Hassan and Imam Hossein and they threw water on of it and gave the children grain, flour and other sweets.
The rite of rain prayer in the desert
Considering that the Iranian plateau is dry and with little water, one of the main problems of its inhabitants is to get water and this fact was the reason for carrying out rituals to request rain. These are carried out individually such as: place scissors under the eaves, place the shovel on the back in the ditch of houses, write the name of 7 or 40 bald and knot a rope and hang it on the eaves and in groups as the rite "Chemche gelin" and "arusi-e qanāt".
In popular beliefs the qanāt are either male or female, therefore in some areas of Iran including the villages of Arāk, Tafresh, Malāyer, Tuyserkān, Mahallāt, Khomein, Golpayegān, Delijān, Chahār Mahāl, Esfahān, Dāmghān, Shahrud, Yazd and Shahre Kord, when the water of the qanāt is scarce, they make them mate. Once a year they wash their bodies in the qanāt and swim until the water that has gone away returns.
In the ritual of the wedding of the qanāt, an old woman was chosen, a widow or a young girl who was made up like a bride, mounted on a horse and led to the water with the instruments and the drum, dancing and singing.
The officiant beside the water contracted the marriage between the two and then the people left the woman alone to entrust her naked body to the water. Since the bride of the qanāt was not allowed to marry, the owner of the qanāt or the people of the area was committed to supporting it economically and to guarantee the primary needs such as wheat and in return the woman promised in time to entrust her body to the 'water, to bathe or ablutions and even in cold seasons the woman was ablutions in that water.
In addition to the cases mentioned above, there were and there are others that in all places attract less attention, for example: the race of pulling the rope between women and men (if women won would have rained), resort to the dervishes and request to have them play and sing, rub two pieces of stone from the children in front of the houses and request for flour to make bread, read the Quran by 40 people in the mosque, put a deceased person in the hand of a person of grass or green grass at the time of burial, stick an iron rod in an old grave by an elderly woman and take it out of a child between the 7 and 8 years, let a nail penetrate a girl in the coffin of dead people, etc.