Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/160

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Sacrifices.

all present, except the women; nothing is burnt. The remaining sacrifices are those of first-fruits. (5) When the yams are ripe they fetch some from each garden to offer to the lid a. All the family who consider a certain line of ancestors to be the lio'a with whom they are concerned in this matter assemble, without the women, at the sacred place belonging to them. One goes into the sacred place with a yam, and cries with a loud voice to the lio'a, 'This is yours to eat,' and puts the yam by the skull which is in the place. The others call quietly upon the names of all the ancestors and give their yams, very many in number, because one from each garden is given to each lio'a. They add also awalosi, the edible flower of a reed. This offering of first-fruits is made in the early morning. If any one has in his house a relic, head, bones, or hair, he takes back a yam to set beside it. (6) First-fruits of flying fish. These fish, like the bonito, require a certain supernatural power to catch them; it is not every canoe that goes after flying fish. When the season comes the men get their floats ready, and the women go into the gardens to dig new yams and make grated food. The men then get a few flying fish, and sacrifice with them. Some lio'a are sharks, and to them the first-fruits are offered. Some have sacred places ashore with figures of sharks set up, before which cooked flying fish are laid; some ghost-sharks have no place on shore, and to them the fish are taken out to sea, their names are called, and the fish shred to them for their food. (7) The new canarium almonds cannot be eaten till the first-fruits have been offered to the lio'a, and a similar offering is made of the dried almonds before they are eaten, with added flying-fish.

A sacrifice in San Cristoval has been already described. In case of sickness, where a certain malignant ghost named Tapia is believed to have seized on a man's soul and bound it to a banyan-tree, a sacrifice of substitution is offered. The man who has access to Tapia is employed to intercede; he takes a pig or fish to the sacred place and offers it, saying, 'This is for you to eat in place of that man; eat this, don't kill him'; and