Midsummer Customs in Morocco. 47
my own part I am inclined to answer this question in the negative. We know that in Spain bonfires were kindled at midsummer both by the Moors and Spaniards/ but there is no evidence that the one people had borrowed the practice from the other ; indeed, that the Moors did not learn it from the Spaniards is almost proved by the cir- cumstance that the Moorish term for Midsummer passed into Spanish under the form alhanzaro? But the fact to which I attribute the greatest importance is a statement made by St. Augustine in one of his Sermons. He says that in his days it was a custom in Libya to go to the sea and bathe there at midsummer, and he denounces this as a relic of paganism.^ I therefore suppose that the purifica- tion ceremonies which are practised in Morocco at mid- summer are old Berber customs. And considering that purification ceremonies at midsummer, so far as I know, occur only in Europe and Northern Africa, I cannot help thinking that this coincidence gives some additional strength to the hypothesis according to which there is a racial affinity between the Berbers and most European nations of the present day. It may be that the mid- summer ceremonies of Europe and Northern Africa, or at least those of a purificatory character, date from a period when such ceremonies were common to the Mediterranean race.
^Dozy and Engelmann, op. cit., p. 136.
"^Jbid., p. 135.
^St. Augustine, Sermo cxcvi., in Migne's Patrologiae cursus covipletus, xviii.-xxxix. 1021 : " Natali Joannis . . . de solemnitate superstitiosa pagana, Christiani ad mare veniebant et ibi se baptizabant." Cf. Herodotus's state- ment (ii, 50 ; iv, 188), that the Libyans worshipped Poseidon.