vve could to save him, we are satisfied,a is often heard, and it is but a natural state of mind for people whose religion teaches them to remember constantly that all things are impermanent and subject to decay. Hence, vehement protestations of grief are rare, and memory not very long-lived. A manas wife and children succeed to his estate to the exclusion of other relatives, the widow being the absolute owner of one half of the estate and having a life interest dutn casta manet over the other half. If she takes another husband the children may demand partition. A Burmese Buddhist cannot make a will, but he may give away his property before death ; if he has not done so the rules of intestate succession, somewhat intricate, apply. There is no law of primogeniture, but the general and universal principle of the nearer in degree excluding the more remote is upheld.
National Amusements.aThe Burmese are an easy-going, happy, and laughter-loving race. The slightest excuse is seized on for merry-making, and then they turn out, gaily dressed, full of fun and frolic. They have been aptly called the Irish of the East. The New Year begins in April with the Thin-gyan festival, called the water feast, because at this time the shrines and pagodas are thoroughly washed and the people throw water on each other. For three days the fun goes on, and during that period it is improper to be angry, to weep, or to marry. The old people and those who are afraid to catch cold retire to a monastery and keep asabbath.a' Picnic parties are arranged, and end in everybody being thoroughly drenched. At this time also the people buy live fish from fishermen, and go in a procession, accompanied by music and dancing, to a special tank or reservoir, in order to liberate them for ever. About a month or so later comes the full-moon day of the month of Kason, the anniversary of the Birth, Enlightenment and Death of Buddha, when illuminations and receptions are got up. Two months later, the beginning of Lent witnesses elaborate preparations for the forthcoming fasting season, and the pagodas and kyaungs are crowded with worshippers. During Lent it is improper to marry or to remove from one place to another or to go to entertainments. It lasts for three months, and there is a stop to pleasure-seeking, with, however, two chief exceptions. The first is a great nat festival in July or August at a place near Mandalay, Taung-byon, where there are supposed to reside two supernatural beings, brothers, who were once historical personages and who look after the welfare of man, provided they are duly honoured. The other,
towards the end of Lent, is the Honey Feast, when offerings of honey are made to the priests. The end of Lent is marked by a grand carnival, wherein all kinds of amusements are indulged in ; pilgrims from far and near are entertained at the pagodas and the dramatic entertainments are crowded. This is, however, only the precursor of a long series of pagoda festivals all over the country, to which pilgrims flock from all parts. They are practically country fairs, and the peasants, fresh from the harvest, go thither to enjoy and spend as much as they can, while the wily traders, mostly Indian, reap another kind of harvest. The greatest universal festival, is the TS-zaung-daing (a month after the end of Lent), when brilliant illuminations, fireworks, fire-balloons, and small fire-rafts are seen. But the largest
MR. MAY OUNG IN BURMESE DRESS.
and most important festival of all is that held in March at the great Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Rangoon.
The stage is well patronised, but the actors are mostly ill-paid and drawn from uneducated people. There are several varieties of entertainment, the chief of which is the zat, a set-piece performed by actors and actresses who talk, sing, dance, make jokes, and act in very crude fashion ; the performance lasts all night, and used to be given in the open air, a row of mats placed round a tree forming the stage. It is only recently that a proper stage and scenery have been adopted. Another kind is the yoke-thay or puppet-show, in which the zat idea is carried out by means of dolls, the real performers remaining out of sight on a raised bamboo platform. Then there is the individual dancing-girl, and the yein (a kind of ballet) performed by young men or a bevy of maidens, generally amateurs. The dancing
consists of movements of the arms and body in time with the music, and a series of graceful postures is seen. Young men and women occasionally dance in processions, but there is nothing corresponding to the Western ball. The orchestra is noisy, consisting of a scale of drums and gongs, clarionet, clappers, and cymbals. But the Burmese harp and bamboo harmonicon give forth pleasant sounds. The performers play solely by ear, and it is difficult for the untrained person to follow the various tunes. Similarly, singing is learnt by ear, the voice being nasal and innocent of regular training. All are fond of singing, but the people in general do not sing in public or at receptions. On moonlight nights, young men go about trying to sing the latest popular ditties, and maidens, when travelling in carts or boats to a festival, very often break through their usual reserve in this respect. The maternal lullaby, however, is heard everywhere, except by strangers.
Indoor games are few in number, and these chiefly imported, recently or in the past. Pa-sit, a game in which little cone-shaped amena move along squares on a cross-shaped cloth a board a according to numbers thrown with six tiny shells (cowries), is the universal favourite, while men play cards and a kind of dominoes. Burmese chess, slightly differing from the Western variety, is also much liked, while draughts, halma, race-games, and other recent importations are slowly gaining ground. The gambling instinct is strong in the Burman (though very rarely in women), and wagers are laid on a great variety of games and events.
Out-of-doors, running, jumping, boat-races, horse-races, buliock-cart races, boxing, and wrestling, are indulged in with great enthusiasm, while the new game of Association football has been taken up everywhere. The national football game is played with the chin-lone, a light wicker globe, which a circle of players strives to keep continually up in the air with their knees and feet ; there are no sides and the game affords only a display of agility and not too violent exercise. There are many other village games which, however, are disappearing in favour of English football. Cock-fighting and buffallo-fighting, with their attendant gambling, are now prohibited. It is only the boys and very young men who go in for manly games and sports, as the grown-up person is expected to be staid and dignified.
Funeral Customs.aAs soon as a person dies, the body is washed, and then laid out in best clothes, A small coin is put intoFuneral Customs.a As soon as a person dies, the body is washed, and then laid out in best clothes, A small coin is put into