Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/48

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

36 Midsummer Ctistoms in Morocco.

l-dnsara day the Andjra people take home from the market some thistles, and hang them in their fruit-trees as a protection against the evil eye. On that day they also steal from the market some of the stones which are used as weights, to suspend them on their fruit-trees for the same object. I was told that their efficacy as charms is due to the baraka with which they are endowed, as also to the fact that many eyes have been gazing on them at the market. By catching so many glances of the eye, these stones have themselves become like eyes ; and as the eye serves as a transmitter of baneful energy, it also, naturally, is capable of throwing back such energy on the person from whom it emanates, hence the image of an eye is often used as a charm against the evil eye. In another moun- tain tribe, the Sahal, I heard that, as in Andjra, pennyroyal and marjoram are cut immediately before l-dnsdra, taken to the houses, and afterwards used for medicinal purposes.

In many parts of Morocco certain eating ceremonies take place on Midsummer Day. A dish is made of various kinds of corn and pulse : wheat, maize, Indian corn, barley, peas, chick-peas, beans, and so forth. The corn and pulse are put in water the previous evening ; and, in many cases at least, they are boiled in their natural state, and eaten with the husks on. The object of this ceremony is to secure good crops. In Shawia the people on l-dnsdra day roast and eat some Indian corn on the field, and also take some to their homes. There they boil the heads without removing the grains, together with two handfuls of beans and four handfuls of wheat, which has not been kept in the vidtumra — their subterranean granary — but in the house. This dish is called sersevi ; there is baraka in it, " it is dear to God." It is eaten with sour milk, and the people generally present a portion of it to their neighbours. Among the Ida Uger'd, a Shluh tribe in Haha, a honey-comb is cut into two pieces on Midsummer Day and eaten if there is honey in it ; I was told that if