Printed for the Hakluyt Society,
Text on page 129
days, according to their means, and there is dancing to the music of flutes and tambourines, and other rejoicings. For circumcision there are operators who only circumcise, and do nothing else. This is the manner of the proceeding. Six or seven hours before the circumcision, the child is bathed in the sea, and kept there till the hour arrives, for they say that this causes the member to shrink, and renders the skin more soft. A shed is constructed on purpose in the yard of each manas house, covered allround with cloths, or silk stuffs; the floor of it is covered with fine white sand. The child is then brought into the shed, where, to prevent him struggling, two or three moudins are stationed, who meanwhile chant the proper verses and prayers. The operator, taking a little white lime, marks all round the member the line where he has to cut, then draws the prepuce as far as he can and ties it with a little cord, and then performs the operation with a razor used only for that, and very keen and sharp. The boy is tended and doctored by the operator himself, until he is recovered. Meanwhile, the relatives and friends of the parents come to visit him, bringing presents for the operator, who also receives payment from the father. Recovery takes about fifteen days, and then the operator takes the circumcised boy to the sea and bathes him, saying prayers and performing ceremonies the while; then he puts into his hand a little palm or coco-branch, fixing at the end of it a little piece of white taffetas, cut to a point like a little pennant, and called dida} This they offer, with all their vows and offerings, as we do wax candles; but they offer divers other things, as I shall describe. Before a child is circumcised they say that he is innocent, and cannot sin; and, indeed, most of them before this time wear no cloth to cover their private parts, for they say that one who cannot sin has no shame; but after circumcision they fail not to cover them. For their daughters, there are no feasts or ceremonies, except
1 M. dida, Sin. dada, a a flaga.1 M. dida, Sin. dada, a a flaga .