« ForrigeFortsæt »
There is one remark, nevertheless, to be made in respect to the four last, particularly foa ooloo, which appears, however inhuman, to be a very ancient and long-established custom in the history of mankind. On turning to Levi. ticus, xx, 28, we find this command: “ Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.”
FUNERAL CEREMONIES FOR TOOITONGA.
Soon after dark, certain persons stationed at the grave begin to sound the conch, while others chaunt a sort of song, or rather a piece of recitative. While this is going on, a num. ber of men in the neighbourhood are ready to come to the grave, to perform a part of the ceremony which the reader will not think altogether consonant to the high character for cleanliness which we have given. It must be considered, however, a religious rite, standing upon the foundation of very ancient customs. These men, about sixty in number, assemble before the grave and wait further orders. The chaunting being finished, and the conchs having ceased to blow, one of the mourners comes forward, seats herself outside the fytoca, and addresses the people thus: “Men! ye are gathered here to perform the duty appointed on you: bear up, and let not your exertions be
wanting to accomplish the work.” Having said this, she retires into the fytoca. The men now approach the mount (it being dark), and (if the phrase be allowable) perform the devotions to Cloacina, after which they retire. As soon as it is daylight the following morning, the women of the first rank (wives and daughters of the greatest chiefs) assemble with their female attendants, bringing baskets, one holding one side and one the other, advancing two and two, with large shells to clear up the depositions of the preceding night: and in this ceremonious act of humility no female of the highest consequence refuses to take her part. Some of the mourners in the fytoca generally come out to assist, so that in a very little while the place is made perfectly clean. This is repeated the fourteen following nights, and as punctually cleaned away by sunrise every morning. No persons but the agents are allowed to be witnesses of these extraordinary ceremonies: at least it would be considered highly indecorous and irreligious to be so. On the sixteenth day, early in the morning, the same females again assemble ; but now they are dressed up in the finest gnatoo and most beautiful Hamoa mats, decorated with ribbons and with wreaths of flowers round their necks: they also bring new baskets ornamented with flowers, and little
brooms very tastefully made. Thus equipped, they approach and act as if they had the same task to do as before, pretending to clear away the dirt, though no dirt is now there, and take it
away in their baskets. They then return to the mood, and resume their mourning mats and leaves of the ifi tree. Such are the transactions of the fifteen days, every day the ceremony of the burning torches being also repeated. The natives themselves used to regret that the filthy part of these ceremonies was necessary to be performed, to demonstrate their great veneration for the high character of Tooitonga, and that it was the duty of the most exalted nobles, even of the most delicate females of rank, to perform the meanest and most disgusting office, rather than the sacred grounds in which he was buried should remain polluted.
Táboo.—This word has various shades of signification. It means sacred or consecrated to a god, having the same signification as fucca-egi; it means prohibited or forbidden, and is applied not only to the thing prohibited but to the prohibition itself, and frequently (when it is in sacred matters) to the person who breaks the prohibition. Thus if a piece of ground or a house be consecrated to a god by express declaration, or the burial of a great chief, it is said to be táboo. The like if a canoe be consecrated,
which is frequently done that it may be more safe in long voyages, &c. As it is forbidden to quarrel or fight upon consecrated ground, so fighting in such a place would be said to be táboo, and those that fought would be said also to be táboo; and a man who is thus táboo would have to make some sacrifice to the gods as an atonement for the sacrilege. If any one touches a superior chief or superior relation, or any thing immediately belonging to him, he táboos himself; but this is not supposed to produce any bad consequence, unless he feeds himself with his own hand, without first removing this táboo, which is to be done by performing the ceremony of móë-móë, directly to be explained. If a person touches the body of a dead chief, or any thing personally belonging to him, he becomes táboo, and time alone can relieve him. Certain kinds of food, as turtle and a certain species of fish, from something in their nature are said to be táboo, and must not be eaten until a small portion be first given to the gods. Any other kind of food may be rendered táboo by a prohibition being laid on it. Fruits and flowers when tábooed, are generally marked to be so by pieces of white tapă, or a piece of plait, in the shape of a lizard or shark. To prevent certain kinds of food from growing scarce, a prohibition or táboo is set on them for a time: as after the
máchi, or other great and repeated ceremonies, and which táboo is afterwards removed by the ceremony called súccaláhi. · When a person is tábooed by touching a superior chief or relation, or any thing personally belonging to him, he will perform the ceremony of móë-móë before he will dare feed himself with his own hands. This ceremony consists in touching the soles of any superior chief's feet with the hands, first applying the palm, then the back of each hand, after which the hands must be rinsed in a little water; or, if there is no water near, they may be rubbed with any part of the stem of the plantain or banana tree, the moisture of which will do instead of washing He may then feed himself without danger of any disease which would otherwise happen, as they think, from eating with tábooed hands; but if any one think he may have already (unknowingly) eaten with tábooed hands, he then sits down before the chief, and taking the foot of the latter, presses the sole of it against his own abdomen, that the food which is in him
do him no injury, and that consequently he may not swell up and die.
As omens, to which they give a considerable degree of credit, and charms, which they some