Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/169

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


The Great Feast in Morocco. 141

or who cannot afford to buy one sacrifice a goat ; some- times a bullock or a small camel is slaughtered on this occasion, but in such a case it is generally held necessary to sacrifice a sheep as well. It is said that the most meritorious sacrifice is a ram, and that the merit in sacrificing other animals decreases according as the victim is a ewe, a he-goat, a she-goat, a bullock, a cow, a he-camel, or a she-camel. The sacrificial animal must be free from any defect. If it is a sheep, it should not be what is called at Fez a hduli gartet or hdiili bfar, that is, a sheep whose tail is short like that of a goat ; and it is desirable that it should have not only a well-developed tail, but long ears and horns as well. The best of all sacrifices is that of a ram with black rings round its eyes,^ presumably because it looks as if it had been painted with antimony ; but a ram with a white face^° is also a very suitable victim. If the animal succeeds in tearing itself away when about to be tied up, it is no longer considered fit for sacrifice, but another animal must take its place.

Like the people, the sacrificial animal is commonly subject to certain forms of purification or sanctification. Among the Sluh of Aglu and the Braber of the Ait Wardin it is, on the eve of the feast, daubed with henna between its eyes, and among the latter the sheep of the fki has designs painted with henna both on its body and its head. On the other hand, I heard an old Berber from a neighbouring tribe, the Ait Yusi, disapprove of the custom, not prevalent among his own people, of smearing this holy colouring matter on a head which is going to have its hair singed off the following day. The Sluh of Demnat and GMwi (Igli'vva) paint the mouth or teeth of

®Such a ram is called in Arabic l-hdtili s-siirdi (Fez) or l-hdtdi s-srSndi (Hiaina) ; in Selha, the language of the Sluh, bidzilla (Igh'wa) or bizdla (Aglu) ; in the language of the Braber ahaidi ahatniiii (Ait Sadden), ahduli ■ adagmi (Ait Yusi), or ahdrfi. abdrki (Ait Warain).

^^ Called ahaidi dgswi by the Ait Sadden, ahduli abarki by the Ait Yiisi.