The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about The Mafulu.
a bamboo knife, such as is used for the cutting up of pigs.  The successor, having received the knife, takes the place of the retiring chief on the pig, and tells the people that he accepts the office of chief; after which he goes round to all the pigs which are there in connection with all the various ceremonies to be gone through, one after another, and in each case makes with the knife just given to him a small slit at the end of the mouth of each pig. [78] This act is regarded as a performance by the new chief of a chiefs office; and, as under present customs the killing of the pig is commonly done by the pig-killer, and the cutting of it up is done by anybody, one is tempted to wonder whether the ceremony points to some chief’s duty of the past, which has ceased to exist, or to some unknown origin of the status of the pig-killer.

Ceremony on Building of a New Emone.

The usual occasion for the building of a new emone is an impending big feast, the then existing emone in the village being out of repair, or there being then no true emone in the village.  But emone are built at other times also.

The actual building of the emone is carried out by the whole clan without ceremony; but when it is finished they erect tall slender straight-stemmed tree poles, passing through the roof of the emone, and to these they tie bunches of croton leaves.  When the emone is being built in anticipation of a big feast, these poles are like, and in fact are part of the series of, the poles erected for the purpose of the feast, as above described.  Croton leaves are also attached to poles after the repairing of a then existing emone.

In the case of a new emone, after its completion they light a fire in it, and in that fire cook a wild pig; vegetable food is provided, and the clan, including members of the village and of other villages, have a little clan feast of the vegetables, followed by a cutting up and distribution of the pig.  But there is no dancing.

CHAPTER X

Matrimonial and Sexual

A boy is regarded as having reached a marriageable age at about 16, 17, or 18, and the age for a girl is a few years younger.  They do not as a rule marry before they have received their perineal bands; but there does not appear to be any definite custom against their doing so; nor are there any acts which must be performed to qualify for marriage, nor any indications by dress or ornament or otherwise that a boy or girl has attained a marriageable age.

Marriages are usually contracted with women of another community, though sometimes the wife will belong to a village of another clan in the same community.  Very rarely only is she of another village of the same clan, and still more rarely is she of the same village, clan exogamy being the rule, and marriages within the clan, and still more within the village, being regarded as irregular and undesirable, and people who have contracted them being considered as having clone wrong.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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