Page:Malabari, Behramji M. - Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1882).djvu/299

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283
THE MUKTÁD.

following: Brand-new clothes, various dishes of fowl, fish, and fruit; good country wine and toddy, and, in short, all those things they had a relish for during their earthly existence. They also required things for amusement, such as paper kites, tops, packs of cards, &c. This is how the dear ones were received: The best room in the house was reserved for them; it was washed, scoured, and furnished with pictures. In the centre was placed a many-branched iron frame; on the top of the frame was placed a tray of choicest flowers (the only redeeming feature in this whole heathen ceremonial), along with the flowers there were fruits. On all sides of the frame were placed metal pots filled with crystal water, and by virgins, female and male. Surrounding the frame, on the floor, were arranged steaming dishes of edibles and rows of favourite playthings. The priest (Dastur) consecrated the food and other things, and took a mouthful from every dish (a full distended priestly mouth seldom measures under 5 inches by 7), he then declared the feast open to the enjoyment of the spirits visitant. These entered the room unperceived, except by the priest and the grandmother or mother-in-law; they washed themselves with the