The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

It may be mentioned that this perineal band ceremony and all the other ceremonies relating personally to both children and adults, if not performed at a big feast, may be performed together, the people concerned in each ceremony being taken more or less in batches; and indeed this generally is so.  But in that case each class of ceremony would be performed separately.  One person may have more than one ceremony performed for him on the same occasion, but if so a separate pig must be provided in respect of each of these ceremonies, and there must be a separate receptacle and a separate supply of food in respect of each of them, though it does not follow that the total amount of food to be provided, other than pig, is proportionately increased.

At a subsequent date there will be a purification ceremony, at which a wild pig or pigs will be killed and eaten by the villagers; though, if the perineal band ceremony has taken place during a big feast, the purification ceremony in connection with the latter will be the only one to take place.

There is no system of seclusion of either boys or girls on attaining puberty, or in connection with initiation, or on attaining a marriageable age.  Nor is there any initiation ceremony, or wearing of ceremonial masks, or use of bull-roarers.  The custom by which chiefs’ children, when assuming the perineal band, are made to stand on a platform reminds one, however, of the Hood Peninsular custom for girls to stand on a dubu platform for the initiation ceremony, as referred to by Dr. Seligmann. [76]

Ceremony on Admission to Emone.

Both boys and girls must undergo a ceremony before being allowed to enter the emone.  It generally takes place when they are two, three, or four years old.  The preliminary decoration of the child is similar to that adopted for the perineal band ceremony, except that, if the child has lost either of its parents, this decoration is omitted.  The erection of receptacles and provision of food and pigs, and the invitation of guests and dancing, and the killing of the pigs are the same as in the case of the other ceremony; also each child has to stand on the pig which his people provide for him.

There is, however, no putting on of a feather ornament, but instead of it the following performance takes place:—­Each child has been carried by its mother or father or other relative, but is taken from that person by the man who has bought the pig.  This man places the child on the dead pig; then he immediately picks the child up again, and runs with it to one of the emone, upon the platform of which two rows of men are sitting, and hands it to the man at the end of one of the rows.  The child is then rapidly passed from hand to hand along that row, and then along the other row, after which it is returned to its carrier, who runs with it to the other emone, on which also two rows of men are sitting, and where a similar performance takes place.  During all this performance there is much shouting and calling out to the child-carrier to hurry.  Finally, when the child is again handed back to this man, he returns it to its parents, and the ceremony is finished.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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