Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/207

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The Great Feast in Morocco. 177

hands oleander sticks with black and white designs made by the peeling off of the bark from some parts of the stick and the scorching of the wood before the removal of the rest of the bark. They sing, — " Bydnnu, byannu ! " and the people give them food and money. Anybody who should refuse doing so would be severely punished by the chief of the troop breaking a stick and throwing it at the door of his house with the phrase, — Aderz rabbi ahhaminnes ! (" May God break your house ! ").

M. Moulieras informs us that among the Zkara, a Moroccan tribe near the Algerian frontier, there is a little masquerade, called sAna, towards the middle of May, the persons taking part in it representing a Jew, his wife 'Azzuna, and a Christian.^^ In Algeria masquerades are reported to take place in certain districts, — at 'A§Qra, at the Great Feast, at the New Year, or in the early spring from the end of February till the middle of March.^*'

M. Doutte suggests that the North-West African mas- querade originally was held in the spring, and was only afterwards, in most cases, associated with dates of the lunar calendar.^^ But his suggestion is founded on the belief that the masquerade is the survival of an ancient custom of slaying the god of vegetation, and for this conjecture I find no evidence in existing facts. So far as I know, there is no instance of a mock-murder of the chief figure in it, who might be supposed to represent the old god, and this omission can hardly be compensated for by the death of the Jew and the mule in the masquerade of Fez or the fact, mentioned by M. Doutte, that at Wargia, in Algeria, there is a fight between a monster, generally in the shape of a lion, and a native armed with a gun, which ends in the slaughter of the beast ; ^^ indeed,

-* Moulieras, Une Tribu ZbiHe Anti-Musulmane au Maroc, 1905, pp. 102 et seq.

^^ Doutte, Magic et religion etc. , pp. 496 et seq.

^^Jbid., p. 529. ^Ibid., pp. 498, 499, 533.