Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/206

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176 The Popu/ar Ritual of

their talk is most lascivious, and the behaviour of the old couple in particular is as indecent as it could be. I am told that among another tribe in Sus, at 'Asura, four men dress themselves up as a Jew, a Jewess, an Arab, and an Arab woman. The Arab robs the Jew of his wife, and, when the latter tries to get her back, he is shot dead by the Moslem with a toy gun made of a bamboo cane. M. Doutte speaks of a masquerade at 'Asura among the Sluh of Hdha near Mogador and among their neighbours, the Arabs of the Siddma;-^ but he is certainly mistaken in his statement that the Morocco masquerade most commonly takes place on this occasion,^'^ In country districts, so far as I know, the 'Asura play is an exception, whereas the masquerade of the Great Feast is well nigh universal, and occurs even among tribes, like those of Sus, who have a masquerade at 'Asura.

There are also masquerades that regularly take place on certain dates of the solar year. Among the Braber of the Ait Warain, in the evening of byamm^^ or New Year's Day (Old Style), two young men dress themselves up as an animal which resembles a camel and is called Bujertil, that is "one who is dressed in a mat," on account of the mat {ajertW) which they throw over their backs. Thus made up they walk about from house to house in their own village and in neighbouring villages that night and the following night, accompanied by two persons disguised as Jews, one of whom is leading Bujertil, as also by a crowd of lads and unmarried young men carrying in their

■-" Doutte, Magie et religion dans VAfrique du Nord^ 1909, pp. 506 et seq.

"^ Idem^ Merrdkech, p. 370; cf. Idem, Magie et 7-eligion etc., pp. 525 et seq.

^ The word byannu is most likely derived from the Latin bomis annus. At Tlemsen, in Algeria, there was formerly a New Year's ceremony in which the chief figure was a masked person called Bubennani or Bumennani. In the Aures the New Year's feast is called buini or bunini, whilst the masquerade which takes place in March is called bundn, (Doutte, Magie et religion etc., pp. 548 et seq.).