Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/164

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136 The Popular Ritual of

"the little 'Arafa," in contradistinction to 'Arafa l-kbira, " the great 'Arafa," that is, the day of Arafa proper ; and in Fez small groups of little girls from the Arab villages outside the town visit the houses for a similar purpose from the beginning of the month till the day of 'Arafa inclusive. They sing the following song : — 'Art/a mbarkd mim^na, 'Artfa mbarkd tmni^na ! hay a Hdmniii, hay a Hdtninii, naiiwuti hefek wi'Ula ylmmak fa'teni si, wiilla nevisi. nd'tek lllid bel-ktimmtya u s-sdsiya wd rkab jdtd nhdr l-'td, (" 'Arifa blessed and propitious, 'Arifa blessed and pro- pitious ! Halloo Hammu, halloo Hammu, make your sister or your mother get up to give me something, or otherwise I am going away. I shall give you a little son with a dagger and a pointed red cap and a new stirrup on the day of the feast "). During my stay in Fez in the winter 1909-10 I had myself a visit of a small group of these girls, nicely dressed and with their cheeks painted with red cos- metics. On the children's return from their round it is in some places the custom for them to have a feast on the food thus collected ; and among the Ait Sadden it is believed that if any grown-up person should come and partake of the meal he would derive merit from it, no doubt on account of the baraka attributed to food given in charity to children, who, according to Moorish ideas, are semi-saintly beings. In other places, again, the children divide the presents between themselves, each of them taking home its portion to give it to its parents or to use it for its own benefit. In Dukkala and Garbiya some of the corn or flour and salt collected by the children is put into the mouth of the sacrificial animal immediately before it is killed.

The gifts to the ambulating children are believed to confer merit on the givers, and consequently serve a purifying or sanctifying object. They form part of the almsgiving which in some form or other precedes the feast and is continued after the sacrifice has been per-