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other flowers which he mentions, some of them late blowers. And such very early flowers might be in use among the gay people of the Jewish nation in their drinking bouts, and this writer might design to point out the continuation of these joyous assemblies, using the earliest flowers of the spring, with the rosebuds of summer, in their different seasons.
Burning of Aromatics at their Feasts.
THE burning of perfumes is practised now in the East in the times of feasting and joy, and there is reason to believe the same usage. obtained anciently in those countries.
Niebuhr, in the first volume of his Travels, giving an account of the observation of a Mohammedan festival called Arafa, or Kurban, and taking notice that it lasts two or three days, and that the peasants during that time bring nothing to the market, so that every one is obliged to get on the vigil of the feast all the proper provisions for it, goes on to inform his readers, that they bought for their Mohammedan domestics flour, sugar, and honey, for the making of cakes, as also a sheep; they were even provided with kaad. Then, after b P. 307. Voy. en Arabie, et en d'autres pays circonvoisins.
a See vol. i. p. 106, 252.
This is a vegetable production the Arabians are very fond of chewing. He describes it in p. 299, where he tells
giving a farther account of the public manner of celebrating the festival, with a solemn procession and military exercises, he adds, "After which every one returned home, feasted, chewed kaad, burnt fragrant substances in his house, stretched himself at lenght on his sofa, and lighted his kiddre, or long pipe, with the greatest satisfaction."
That the same obtained anciently among those in affluent circumstances, at least in times when they particularly enjoyed themselves, appears, I think, from the 16th of Ezekiel, ver. 13, 15, 18, 19. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot, and tookedst thy broidered garments, and coveredst them (thine idols:) and thou hast set mine oil, and mine incense before them. My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, saith the LORD GOD.
Here we see honey and oil, along with fine flour, used by this lady in her prosperity, as was prepared for their Mohammedan domestics in a time of Arabian rejoicing; and she is upus, they are young shoots of a tree, which the Arabians chew, as the Indians do their betel. He found them placed in little bundles on the sofa of the Dola of Taäs, but he remarks, that he could not relish this Arabian delicacy.
braided with giving to her idols what God had bestowed upon her for her own use and satisfaction, broidered garments, lamps of oil, and incense, as well as meat, fine flour, oil, and honey.
Singular Method of inviting Persons to an
HASSELQUIST takes notice of what appears to us an odd custom in Egypt, which he supposes is very ancient, though he does not apply it to the illustration of any passage of Scripture; it seems, however, to be referred to by Solomon in the book of Proverbs.
He saw, he says, a number of women, who went about inviting people to a banquet, in a singular, and, without doubt, very ancient manner. They were about ten or twelve, covered with black veils, as is customary in that country. They were preceded by four eunuchs: after them and on the side, were Moors with their usual walking staves. As they were walking, they all joined in making a noise, which he was told signified their joy, but which he could not find resembled a joyful or pleasing song. The sound was so singular, as that he found himself at a loss to give an idea of it to those that never hear it. It was shrill, but had a particular quavering, which they learnt by long practice.
e P. 56.
The passage in Proverbs, which seems to allude to this practice, is the beginning of the ninth chapter: Wisdom hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
Here the reader observes, that the invitation is supposed to be made by more than one person; that they were of the female sex that were employed in the service; and that the invitation is supposed not to have been, as among us, a private message, but open to the notice of all. Whether it was with a singing tone of voice, as now in Egypt, does not, determinately at least, appear by the word here made use of, and which is translated crieth: She crieth (by her maidens) upon the highest places of the city.
It may not be improper to add, that though the Eastern people now eat out of the dishes oftentimes, which are brought in singly, and follow one another with great rapidity, not out of plates, yet many lesser appendages are placed round about the table by way of prepara
f The Romans in the East; it seems, from the term made use of by St. Matthew, ch. xxii. 2, sent their invitations by men-servants; not women, as is the modern Egyptian practice and, according to St. Luke, ch. xiv. 17, only one. messenger, instead of many.
tion, which seems to be what is meant by the expression, she hath also furnished her table ;* in one word, all things were then ready,' and the more distant kinds of preparation had been followed by the nearer, till every thing was ready, so as that the repast might immediately begin. The cattle were killed, the jars of wine emptied into drinking-vessels, and the little attendants on the great dishes placed on the table.
Entertainments made in the open Air in hot Countries.
THE heat of the countries of the East is so great, that their inhabitants take great pleasure in repairing to places of shade, water, and verdure, to take a joyous repast there; and particularly at the times of their religious rejoicing.
"To fountains, or rivers," Dr. Chandler tells us, in his travels, "the Turks and the Greeks frequently repair for refreshment; especially the
A piece of red cloth, cut in a round form, is spread upon the divan under the table, to prevent that from being soiled; and a long piece of silk stuff is laid round, to cover the knees of such as sit at table, which has no covering but the victuals. Pickles, salads, small basons of leban, bread, and spoons, are disposed in proper order round the edges. The middle is for the dishes, which (among the great people) are brought in one by one; and after each person has eaten a little, they are changed. Russell, vol. 1. p. 172.,
Luke xiv. 17, where the expression may be understood after the same manner.