Mandaean men wearing rasta performing masbuta in Ahvaz, Iran
Mandaean women wearing rasta performing Rishama in Ahvaz, Iran in 2013

A rasta (Classical Mandaic: ࡓࡀࡎࡕࡀ) is a white ceremonial garment that Mandaeans wear during most baptismal rites,[1] religious ceremonies, and during periods of uncleanliness. It signifies the purity of the World of Light. The rasta is worn equally by the laypersons and the priests.[2] If a Mandaean dies in clothes other than a rasta, it is believed that they will not reenter the World of Light,[3] unless the rite "Ahaba d-Mania" ('Giving of Garments') can be performed "for those who have died not wearing the ritual garment."[4]

A rasta also has a stitched-on pocket called the daša.[5]


The rasta is expected to be transmuted after death into a "garment of glory" for the soul (Qolasta prayer 76: "the Perfecter of Souls ... will come out toward you and clothe your soul in a garment of radiance"[6][7]) – this is equivalent to the perispirit.

A Mandaic hymn, Left Ginza 3.11, states:

"He created me and clothed me with radiance, like that which the chosen men put on.
That which the chosen men put on, the true and faithful people.
I put my head therein,
I was filled like the world.
I opened my eyes in it, my eyes became filled with light."[8]

Related clothing

Other ritual clothing pieces that typically go along with the rasta when worn by men, especially priests, are:[5]

Special prayers in the Qolasta are also recited when putting on the burzinqa and pandama.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, The Mandaeans: Ancient Texts and Modern People, pg.81, Oxford University Press (2002) ISBN 0-19-515385-5
  2. ^ Al-Mubaraki, Majid Fandi; Al-Mubaraki, Brayan Majid; Al-Mubaraki, Zaid (2000). The Mandaean Rasta. Sydney. ISBN 0-9585705-6-6.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ [1] Archived November 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ [2] "Glossary", in E. S. Drouwer, The Mandaeans of Iran and Iraq: Their Cults, Customs, Magic Legends, and Folklore, Gorgias Press (2002) ISBN 1-931956-49-9
  5. ^ a b Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen (2002). The Mandaeans: ancient texts and modern people. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515385-5. OCLC 65198443.
  6. ^ a b Drower, E. S. (1959). Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
  7. ^ The Gnostic Society Library, Mandaean Scriptures and Fragments: Ginza Rba, The Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans
  8. ^ Gelbert, Carlos (2011). Ginza Rba. Sydney: Living Water Books. ISBN 9780958034630.