life. He may not communicate with his relations and friends as such, but, if necessary, as mere dayakas (supporters of religion) ; he undertakes to observe the ten priestly vows, including poverty, daily fasting after mid-day, abstinence from luxury and amusements ; he must not leave the monastery, except in the morning, when, bowl in hand, he goes round the village with downcast eyes to receive alms (cooked food for his meal) from the pious. The ordinary period of noviciate lasts about three months, though at the present day boys undergoing Western education cannot spare more than a month at most ; but it is at this time of his life that the seeds of morality and religion are firmly sown in his mind. His daily intercourse with the holy monks, the scriptural studies which he must pursue, and the strict well-ordered monastic lifeaall these leave an indelible mark on him, and the Burman, all through life, looks back with satisfaction to the time which he spent at the Kyaung (monastery). To the parents the event is a source of great pleasure and comfort. a We have now obtained the inheritance of the gods a is their exclamation, and they usually bestow gifts on the son whose renunciation of the world has brought merit on them as well. (Those who have read the life of Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, will recognise this ceremony of Shinpyoo, as it is called, as typifying the Great Renunciation.) At the close of the Shinpyoo period, the novice returns to his worldly life, and for the first time assumes the head-dress of a man, for this ceremony marks the transition from boyhood to adolescence, and he then takes his place among the Kalathas (sons of the time).
The Burmese girl has no corresponding ceremony, although she takes great pride in her brotheras happier lot and is assiduous in her work of cooking for the Ko-yinas meal. But she has her own joyous time, when, at the age of twelve or thirteen, her ears are pierced for the reception of the first pair of ear-rings. An auspicious day must be chosen, numbers of guests are invited to enjoy the music and festivities, and, when the silver or gold pins are pushed through her flesh, she bears the pain with great fortitude, knowing well that in a few days she will be the proud wearer of pearl or diamond nagats. At the same time she receives numerous gifts from her relatives and intimate friends.
Youth and Education.aThe young men and women of the present day are those most affected by the new order of things. Burma is an easy first in the East with regard to general literacy, but in olden times education
was largely confined to what the boy could pick up in five or six years at the monastery areading and writing, a knowledge of the scriptures, and elementary arithmetic. The learned class consisted chiefly of monks. The girls were at a greater disadvantage, for they are not allowed to attend the monastic schools, and lay schools have been scarce. Hitherto (and it is still the case in villages far removed from the railroads and great waterways), the Burmese youth was expected to
assist in the fields and to take his part in the social economy of village life ; the maiden had to attend to domestic work, weaving, or keeping a bazaar stall. Living was cheap, wants were simple, and there was no call for over-strenuous work. Now,all is changed. Western education has come in, and many years must be spent in school and college before the young man can find good employment ; and, with the gradual spread of female
education, the young girl has wider spheres of activity opened out for her. At this period Burmese life presents no particularly noteworthy features besides the ordinary incidents, pleasures, and amusements common to all ages. There is one custom, however, which dates from very ancient times and which is still observed regularly. At certain times of the yearathe Burmese New Year (in April), the beginning of Wa (the Buddhist Lent, June or July), and the end of Wa (Sep-
tember or October)ait is usual for young men and girls to visit the elders of the family and their spiritual teachers, to make obeisance to them, together with offerings of some sort, usually flowers and candles, and to receive their blessing. Even little children are taught to take part in this observance, and thus, at an early age, respect to elders and teachers is inculcated.
Marriage. a The institution of wedlock
BURMESE CIGAR MAKERS.BURMESE CIGAR MAKERS.