Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/50

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8 Midsummer Customs in Morocco.

that they should look like fresh ones the following morn- ing"; and the Andjra people, who perform the same ceremony not at midsummer but at New Year (of the solar year, Old Style), maintain that, if the seeds are much swollen in the morning, the crops will be good. Similar notions in all probability account for the eating of the honey-comb.

In Morocco ceremonial eating is, in fact, a very common means of transferring blessings. I shall state a few facts which, though referring to ceremonies practised on other occasions, will help us to understand the ceremonial eating at midsummer. On the day when ploughing begins, the Andjra people take to the field some bread made without yeast (J-ftair), as also some ordinary bread and dried fruit. A loaf of l-ftdir is stuck on the horns of each ox, and is allowed to remain till the evening, when it is eaten by the owner of the ox and his family. The rest of the food is eaten on the spot by all people present, among whom the schoolboys — who are always regarded as semi-holy — are particularly conspicuous. When they have finished the meal, they say some words like these : — AlldJi fa'dla ireskek w" irzdkna fi z-zro' wd z-zerre'a s-sdhha wd l-hena wd l-'dmdr t-twil, Allah fa'dla i'aicnek 'al' l-harf, " May God the highest bestow on you" (that is, on the owner of the field) "and bestow on us wheat and seed, health and security and a long life, may God the highest help you with the ploughing." In the Rif country a loaf of bread is broken over the ploughbeam ; part of it is given to the oxen to eat, and the rest is eaten by the persons present. Among the 'Arab of Dukkala a big wheaten loaf is eaten by the boys on that spot of the field which will be first turned up by the plough, whereupon they say, " May God make the ploughing easy for you." Among the Shluh of Aglu a big dish filled with tagiilla, a kind of hard porridge, is taken to the place where the ploughing is about to commence. In the middle of the tagMla a hole has been made and filled