Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/157

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Folklore of the Azores 141

houses of important persons, whom they greet. Shortly before noon the procession arrives in the open place before the town hall of Ribeira Grande, and they go through all sorts of manoeuvres and figures like a military tournament. The captain salutes the mayor and the principal inhabitants, and recites an impromptu verse in honour of each. After this has gone on for about half an hour they proceed to other parts of the town, and then the pandemonium begins. Men dressed in grotesque costumes, masqueraders, wheel- barrows, donkey-carts filled wdth fantastically-dressed people, parade the streets, making a hideous noise with tin trumpets, reeds, drums, and instruments of every kind. This goes on till late at night or the small hours of the morning.

I W'as once present at this festival, which I witnessed from the balcony of the Ribeira Grande Town Hall, and heard all the doggerel verses addressed to those present.

Customs and Superstitions. Funerals. When a death takes place the bereaved sit all day in darkened rooms for several days or a w-eek, and all their intimate friends come to sit with them. No fire is lighted and no cooking done till after the funeral, and friends send in trays of meat, vegetables, and sweets. The near relations sit on the sofa, and it is thought unlucky for anyone else to sit there at that time. The actual funeral takes place as a rule twenty-four hours after death.

The Banana. The banana must not be cut with a knife, but bitten through, as the mark of the Cross will be seen if it is cut through (much as King Charles's oak is seen w^hen the bracken-fern is cut through).

Churning Butter. A gentleman staying near Castello Branco, in the island of Fayal, wanted a peasant to churn him some butter. The