TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS
surroundings, and secondly (and this arises out of the first), the awakening of the younger generation which is taking place all over the country. This is not the place for the discussion of these questions, and they are mentioned merely for the purpose of recording dissent from the proposition that the Burmese race is destined to become extinct.
Another matter which it is necessary to draw attention to (for the benefit of those who have not visited Burma) is that the people of this country are totally different from those of India, different in race, religion, language, dress, manners, customs, ideas, sentiments ; in short, the two countries are as dissimilar as any two countries could possibly be, and that in spite of their contiguity. It is a political accident that Burma happens to be placed under the rule of the Viceroy of India, and is hence one of the many provinces of the Indian Empire ; there the connection ends.
Birth and Childhood.aLike its kind in all countries, the Burmese infant is heralded into the world with great rejoicing. Before its appearance, every possible preparation is made, and the mother is guarded closely and tenderly, so that evil influences may be warded off ; thus, she may not sit in a doorway, nor walk abroad at night, nor wear flowers in her hairaand many other such restrictions are laid down, some based on superstition, others on hygienic grounds. As soon as the child is born, branches of thorn are suspended over all doorways in order to prevent the entry of evil spirits, and the news is forthwith sent out to relatives and friends, most of whom have been expecting the event. The neighboursafemale of courseaflock in, all ready to advise and assist, and to admire the new arrival. Before the mother is ready to nurse it, the young one is placed, swaddled from head to foot, its face only appearing, in a round bamboo tray, near the bedside ; in or near the tray are also placed, if the child be a boy, articles of menas clothing, a book, a pencil, paper, and other things emblematic of manhood; if a girl, a mirror, female clothing, a comb, and other toilet requisites. This is called the Poo-za-bwe. A little mixed honey and water
put into a saucer, and the baby is made to suck it through a piece of clean twisted rag ; and this is all the nourishment it gets for the first day or two. Till the seventh day after the birth, guests are entertained all day long, some sleeping in the house for company, and presents are given to the ^ild. The conversation during these visits must not refer to anything evil or sad, but
the chief topic is naturally the baby ; the day and the month of its birth are discussed, and happy predictions made for the future ; thus a boy born in the month of Waso, or a girl in Pyatho, are destined to enjoy all the blessings of this world ; the Wednesday child will be rich, and Fridayas child will be talkative, and c., and c., all these and much more are never-failing topics, and are talked of at
(ponna), is then called in to note the astrological time of the childas birth, and to assist in selecting a name. The Burmese have no patronymics, and (except in the case of the Arakanese) names are of the same kind everywhere, and afford no indication of a personas descent or stock. Most people have at least two names, one being the astrological name entered in the owneras horoscope (sSda),
a *** a * *
A BURMESE VILLAGER-NOTE THE METHOD OF TATTOOING ON THE LIMBS.
every birth. On the seventh day, the mother emerges from her confinement (it is called the mee-tok, or taking out from the fire,) and the ceremony of washing the childas head is performed. This is, in the case of wealthy people, done over again later on in life with great festivities (kin-boon-tat). A Saya (teacher or wise man), usually a Manipur brahmin
and the other a name chosen either at random or to suit the parentsa fancy, or which is a modification of a nickname. The first is the one sanctioned by long usage, and it used to be possible to tell correctly the day of the week on which a person was born from his or her name. The letters of the Burmese alphabet are apportioned to theand the other a name chosen either at random or to suit the parentsa fancy, or which is a modification of a nickname. The first is the one sanctioned by long usage, and it used to be possible to tell correctly the day of the week on which a person was born from his or her name. The letters of the Burmese alphabet are apportioned to the