An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 438 pages of information about An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies.

Sometimes a man will order the Smith to make this Idol, and then after it is made will go about with it to well-disposed People to contribute toward the Wages the Smith is to have for making it.  And men will freely give towards the charge.  And this is looked upon in the man that appointed the Image to be made, as a notable piece of Devotion.

I have mentioned the Bogahah Tree before, which in memory of this God they hold Sacred, and perform Sacrifices, and celebrate Religious Meetings under.  Under this Tree at some convenient distance about ten or twelve foot at the outmost edge of the Platform, they usually build Booths or Tents; some are made slight only with leaves for the present use, but some are built substantial with hewn Timber and Clay Walls, which stand many years.  These Buildings are divided into small Tenements for each particular Family.  The whole Town joyns, and each man builds his own Appartment:  so that the Building goes quite round like a circle, only one gap is left, which is to pass thro to the Bogahah Tree:  and this gap is built over with a kind of Portal.  The use of these Buildings is for the entertainment of the Women.  Who take great delight to come and see these Ceremonies, clad in their best and richest Apparel.  They employ themselves in seeing the Dancers, and the Juglers do their Tricks:  who afterwards by their importunity will get Money of them, or a Ring off their Fingers, or some such matters.  Here also they spend their time in eating Betel, and in talking with their Consorts, and shewing their fine Cloths.  These Solemnities are always in the Night, the Booths all set round with Lamps; nor are they ended in one Night, but last three or four, until the Full Moon, which always puts a Period to them.

CHAP.  V.

Concerning their Religions Doctrines, Opinions, And Practices.

[As to their Religion they are very indifferent.] There are few or none zealous in their worship, or have any great matter of esteem for their Gods.  And they seldom busie themselves in the matters of their Religion, until they come to be sick or very aged.  They debar none that will come to see the Ceremonies of their worship; and if a stranger should dislike their way, reprove or mock at them for their Ignorance and Folly, they would acknowledge the same, and laugh at the superstitions of their own Devotion, but withall tell you that they are constrained to do what they do, to keep themselves safe from the malice and mischiefs that the evil spirits would otherwise do them, with which, they say, their Country swarm.

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An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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