Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/182

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Spanish Folklore. — From Mr. G. E. Bonsor, who has been for some time engaged in excavating a Eoman necropolis at Carmona, in Spain, I learned in conversation the following. At Carmona, on St. John's Day, the people make bonfires, and sit round them all night. On one day of the year boys of from seven to ten years are stripped naked, their bodies are smeared with glue, and in the glue feathers are stuck. Thus disguised, they are known as demons, and run about from house to house, the people trying to avoid them and to bar their houses against them. At a wedding sweetmeats are strewn on the floor, and the people dance on them. A Spanish gipsy will on no account look at a corpse or remain in the house with one. When one of his family dies, he immediately quits the house ; if he is decoyed into a house where there is a dead body, and he discovers it, his horror is very great. The instrument which is used instead of the church-bell for sometime before Easter consists of a wooden wheel with tongues suspended within it. When the wheel is whirled round the tongues strike against it and produce a loud clattering noise. Every church-tower is provided with one of these clappers, as the church-bells may not be rung till the very moment when, it is calculated, the Kesurrection took place ; then the music peals and the bells ring out. This custom of substituting clappers for bells is now confined, Mr. Bonsor believes, to Spain, and is no longer practised in France; though, as I have shown (Folklore Journal, vi. p. 210), there is evidence that it was observed in France as late as the first quarter of this century. In an out-of-the-way place in Spain Mr. Bonsor once came upon some men engaged in divining by water. A glass vessel containing water stood in their midst, and one of them was interpreting to the rest the omens given by the water. The men were very much in earnest ; and Mr. Bonsor found that any attempt to make hght of the proceeding might have had serious consequences.