Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/188

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i6o The Popular' Ritual of

again endeavours to get hold of the latter; and thus the race goes on till some time before sunset. I have found no superstitious beliefs at present connected with this practice, but it certainly suggests a purificatory origin. This is also the case with the target shooting, which is practised in the afternoons of the first, second, and sometimes third day of the feast. It is of universal prevalence on this occasion, as also at other feasts. Every rifleman is compelled to take part in it, at the risk of having to pay a fine ; indeed it is the custom even for men who have no rifles of their own to fire a few shots with those belonging to others. I was expressly told that this practice has the effect of driving away evil influences. In the Hiaina it is considered particularly good to practise target shooting on the sdba' l-'id, or seventh day of the Great Feast, Little Feast, and Mulud, and also on Fridays between the midday prayer and sunset.

A very interesting feature of the Great Feast is the masquerade which is connected with it almost everywhere in Morocco. A man is dressed up in the skins of some sacrificed goats or sheep, and another man or boy is disguised as a woman. Sometimes they are regarded as husband and wife, and sometimes the woman is regarded as the wife of a third person, an old man. Other in- dividuals are dressed up as Jews and Jewesses, or Christians, or animals. Accompanied by musicians and other persons, the party walk about from house to house or from tent to tent, dancing and acting. These are the most general characteristics of the play, but there are many variations in details. The following accounts of it are based either on my own personal experience or on information which I have received from native friends with reference to their respective tribes or places.

In April, 1900, during my stay in a village of the Sdhel, a mountain tribe in Northern Morocco, I was two nights consecutively present at a performance of this kind, which