Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/211

This page needs to be proofread.

Collectanea. 197

probably has its origin in the name of the month, since there is a popular saying about it : " Moharrem el-haram" (" Moharrem is the forbidden thing "), and hence, as it has been said to me, " No one marries or writes during it." That it should be unlucky to write as well as to marry is interesting.

In the Btilletin de rinstitut egyptien, 1891, pp. 250-67, Yacoub Artin Pasha has collected the various rhymes that are attached to the names of the Coptic months. But there is one about Baba (October) which he does not seem to have heard : " Baba, sidd el-bauwaba" ("Baba, close the gate").

If a woman becomes pregnant in the first seven days of the month Baramhat (March), the offspring will be deformed or otherwise imperfect.

On the first hot day in the spring they say : " The shepherd has sold his clothes."

The day before Ramadan (the Mohammedan month of fasting) begins, children say : " Bukra el-wafr, Nitba' es-safr " (" To-morrow economy; we follow the whistling"). On the last day of Ramadan this is changed into : " Bukra el-'id, Nitba' 's-sa'id " ("To-morrow the feast; we follow the fortunate one").

On that afternoon the natives of Upper Egypt visit the tombs of their fathers, taking bread, dates, and other food with them, some of which they place on a shelf below a small opening in the wall of the tomb, and spend the night eating and drink- ing among the graves.

I have heard a variant of the nursery rhyme about the first two days of the week which I have quoted in my last paper : " Yom el-hadd, ma-qal-shi hadd ; yom el-etnen, qalu etnen " ("Sunday no one spoke, Monday two spoke").

It is unlucky to begin or finish any work on Wednesday or on the morning of Friday.

According to the Coptic calendar, on the night of January 17th, "the heaven is opened." My servant Mustafa's maternal grandfather once saw it. and frightened by the light hid himself in an inner room.

It is a common saying that "There are three things : you are cold, and cannot sleep ; you are hungry, and cannot sleep ; you are afraid, and cannot sleep ; and that is the worst of all."