Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/391

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allowance of rice ; breakfast and dinner are served to the family. At sunset the whole family prepares for a hot bath. The precedence is given to the person whom the astrologer has chosen in the morning for the ceremony of cutting the first sheaves. On his return from bathing he repairs to the threshing-floor, spreads the Huttari mat, and while the rest are engaged in their ablutions cuts the Inyoli creeper into small pieces, rolls each piece into an Ashvatha, a Kum- bali, and a Keka leaf, in the fashion of a native cheroot, and ties up the little bundle with a bit of Achchi fibre. All the bundles are placed in the Huttari basket. Now the women take a large dish, strew it with rice, and place a lighted lamp in it. This done, the whole household march towards the fields, the dish with the lamp is carried in front, the sheaf-cutter follows with basket and sickle in one hand and a bamboo bottle of fresh milk in the other. Arrived at the chosen spot, the young man binds one of the leaf scrolls from his basket to a bush of rice and pours milk into it. He cuts an armful of rice in the neighbourhood and distributes two or more stalks to every one present. Some stalks are put into the milk vessel. No one must touch the sheaf-cutter. All return to the threshing-floor, shouting as they walk on " Poly, poly, Deva ! " (increase, God ! ) A bundle of leaves is adorned with a stalk of rice and fastened to the post in the centre of the threshing-floor. The company proceed to the door of the house, where the mistress meets them, washes the feet of the sheaf-cutter, and presents to him, and after him to all the rest, a brass vessel filled with milk, honey, and sugar, from which each takes a draught. They move into the kitchen. The Huttari mat is spread, the brass dish, the rice sheaf, and the baskets with leaf scrolls each with a stalk of rice are placed on it. The young man distributes the bundles to the members of the family, who disperse to bind them to everything in house and garden — doors, stools, roof, trees, &c. In the meantime he sits down to knead the Huttari dough of rice meal, plantains, milk, and honey, seven new rice corns, seven pieces of cocoanut, seven small pebbles, seven pieces of dry ginger, seven cardamom seeds, and seven corns of sesamum are added. Every one receives a little of this dough upon an Ashvatha leaf and eats it.