Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/115

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If we compare this with the precepts of the "Manava-Dharma-Sastra — "The ceremony in honor of the manes is superior, for the Brahmins, to the worship of the gods, and the offerings to the gods that take place before the offerings to the manes have been declared to increase their merits"[1] — it will be easy to see that these teachings must have emanated from the same school.

This most ancient custom is likewise scrupulously followed by the Chinese, for whom the worship of the ancestors is as binding and sacred as that of God himself, whose representatives they have been for their children while on earth. Confucius in his book "Khoung-Tseu" dedicates a whole chapter to the description of the ceremony in honor of ancestors as practised twice a year, in spring and autumn,[2] and in his book "Lun-yu" he instructs his disciples that "it is necessary to sacrifice to the ancestors as if they were present."[3] The worship of the ancestors is paramount in the mind of the Japanese. On the fifteenth day of the seventh Japanese month a festival is held in honor of the ancestors, when a repast of fruit and vegetables is placed before the Ifays, or wooden tablets of peculiar shape, on which are written inscriptions commemorative of the dead.

Great festivities were held by the Peruvians in honor of the dead in the month of Aya-marca, a word which means literally "carrying the corpses in arms." These festivities were established to commemorate deceased friends and relations. They were celebrated with tears, mournful songs, plaintive music, and by visiting the tombs of the dear departed, whose provi-

  1. [Manava-Dharma-Sastra, lib. iii., Sloka 203, also Slokas 127, 149, 207, etc., et passim.]
  2. Confucius, Khoung-Tseu, Tchoung-Young, chap. xix.
  3. Ibid, Lun-yu, chap. iii., Sloka 12.