Laura Watson Benedict

Ceremonial at Rice-sowing^ called Marinmnas

Rice may be sown while the constellations Mamare, Marara, and Buaya are visible. May and June being the months in which the most numerous rice-plantings take place. If a new field is to be cleared ^^*, the work is done two or three months before Marummas,

''^ Cf. ibid., vol. 16, p. 133. 1904.

^'^ Cf, ibid., vol. 21, p. 203. 1905.

'^ (y. ibid., vol. 13, p. 270. 1904.

^'* "In former days, on the death of any influential chief, if his people were either too lazy or too cowardly to go headhunting, a male or female slave was purchased and sacrificed in honor of the dead. From far and near, friends were invited to take part in the high ceremony. When the poor wretch of a slave was thrust into a cage of bamboo and rattan, he knew perfectly well the death by torture to which he was destined.
In this cage he was confined for a week or more, until all the guests had assembled and a feast was prepared. On the; appointed day, after every one had feasted and a blood-thirsty instinct had been stimulated to a high pitch by arrack, each one in turn thrust a spear into the slave. No one was allowed to give a fatal thrust until every one to the last man had felt the delight of drawing blood from living, human flesh.
We were told by the Berawans that the slaves often survived six or seven hundred wounds, until death from loss of blood set them free. The corpse of the victim was then taken to the grave of the Chief, and the head cut off and placed on a pole over-hanging the grave. Frequently some of the guests worked themselves into such a blood-thirsty frenzy that they bit pieces from the body, and were vehemently applauded when they swallowed the raw morsel at a gulp.
"Home life of Borneo head-hunters, p. 140. 1902.

*"^ See the account of the ceremonial clearing of the fields at Sibulan, and of the religious preparation therefor, given by F. C. Cole, op. cii., p. 86.


First comes the hamiit^ or clearing away of undergrowth; next the pamiili^ or felling of large trees, one week after kamut and finally the burning over of the land, called panorok.

The Mariimmas is a co-operative affair, to which all the neigh-bors come to assist in turn the man whose field is to be sown.
During the season for planting, there is a Marummas held every few days at one or another field. After the sowing is done, the host gives a feast to all who have helped him. The occasion is made one for a display of rich textiles worn by the women, while the men have on good trousers and richly beaded carrying-bags and kerchiefs.

The ceremonial at the sowing is performed for the pleasure of the god Tarabume, who cares for the rice plants, making them grow and bear grain for the Bagobo. The ceremonial tool is the digging-stick, a slender pole of wood, ranging in length from six and one- half to eight and one-half feet, to one end of which is tied a little spade {karok or mata) of wood or iron, while at the upper end the pole is run through a nodal joint of bamboo about two feet long, split lengthwise to form a clapper. Whenever the digging-stick hits the ground, the two halves of the bamboo clapper strike together, producing a crisp rattling sound very pleasant to the ear, especially when many are striking in unison. The clapper is called palakpak^ and the entire digging-stick is katebalan. but the palakpak being the significant part of the tool, from a ritual standpoint, the whole stick usually goes by the name of palakpak.
The clapper is decorated with cocks' feathers, as long and gorgeous as can be obtained, and often with strings of beads and little bells, while the long handle is frequently scratched or carved in patterns, and colored with torchblack and dyes from roots and sap. It is for the pleasure of Tarabume that the clapper is put on the digging-stick, and it is to rejoice the eyes of Tarabume that it is ornamented with feathers and bells. The Bagobo say that "The feathers are to make the palakpak very pretty to please the god in the sky; the bamboo clapper is to make a pretty sound for the god to hear. When Tarabume sees the feathers and hears the sound, he makes much rice." The bamboo is cut for the palakpak several months before planting. Each man cuts an internode of a fixed size, measured on his own body. It must be the length of the distance from a point on his right arm called katitu to a point at the wrist called taklaija. The katitu is a few inches below the


shoulder at a point just above the bulge of the biceps muscle; the taklaya is the middle point of the wrist on its palmar aspect.
Between sowing and harvest, the palakpak is kept in the house, for if it were sold or given away during that interval the rice crop would fail.

While sowing, a line of men and boys goes first, moving in the orthodox direction for the Bagobo, that is, from north to south, for if they should move northward or eastward or westward they would be attacked by the sickness pamalii, A man holds his palakpak at an angle of about forty-five degrees, with the right hand higher up on the stick than the left. According to the fixed motor habit of his tribe, the right hand grasps the stick from underneath, as it guides the motion, while the left hand, in steadying the downward thrust, is clasped over the stick. This gives a centrifugal motion exactly the opposite of the habit in hoeing common among ourselves. The depth of the hole is to the neck of the mata, or little spade, but the mata are not all of uniform length.
The holes are made as far apart as the distance from the point at the wrist where the pulse-beat may be felt to the tip of the middle finger; and the time between the rapid, regular blows of the spade one can measure by the striking of the clappers; it is as the time between the ticks of the pendulum of a small clock. All the strokes are made in unison, so that the palakpak of all the men rattle precisely at the same moment. A line of women and girls follows, each carrying in her left hand a vessel of cocoanut-shell containing the seed rice, or with a small basket of rice hanging from her left arm. With the right hand she takes out a few grains of rice, drops them into one of the holes, and pulls some earth over the place with her foot, patting down the soil with bare toes.

To secure the growth of rice and the well-being of the family that tends it, there is placed in one corner of the field a shrine called parabunnidn. Before sunrise on the day of the sowing, or the morning of the preceding day, the shrine is set up, with prayers for a good crop and prayers against sickness.

The parabunnian consists of a little house, three or four feet in height, made of light bamboo thatched with nipa or cogon grass, and having a steep, sloping roof like a Bagobo house, but with only three walls, the front being left open. The parabunnian used by the Bila-an people has a floor, and some Bagobo have borrowed


this style of shrine. Inside the house is a very small tambara, with its rod of balekayo split at the upper end to hold a little white bowl, old and blackened. In the bowl are various offerings — a few brass bracelets, tarnished by age, several fresh areca-nuts on betel-leaves, and other small gifts — while a piece of white cloth may be hung beside the shrine. At Egianon's rice planting, there were four brass wire armlets in the tambara, a bracelet cast from a wax mould (baUnutung), and six areca-nuts on nine buyo-leaves. On the ground, just outside the little house, five areca-nuts on four buyo-leaves lay in a tiny pile. The Bagobo say that the god (probably Tarabume) will come and chew some of the betel while the festival of Marummas is in progress.

Around the sacred hut, runs a little fence made of light bamboo split into slender strips. This is the hulituk^ and it is like a tiny wicket fence with eight curves. I was told that "the number eight is very good for parabunnian, for with eight curves you could not be sick." Another function of the bulituk is to make the rice plants grow thick together.

Spikes of rattan, leaves and little branches from plants having magical value are stuck in the ground at different points close around the shrine. Each has a definite effect on the development of the young plants during their sprouting and growth.-*^

Tagbak makes the rice grow and open very quickly. Bon-bon grows abundantly and close together, just as one wants rice to grow, so the use of bon-bon means that there will be a rich sprouting of plants near together. Pula (padma brava) makes the rice very sturdy, because the trunk of the pula is hard and strong. Patugu also keeps the rice strong. Stalks of balala (a fine rattan) are put there to keep the leaves of rice moving, just as the balala keeps swaying. Isug causes the rice to stand straight. Liipo (cocoanut-leaves) keep the sun from the rice, because the cocoanut palm never dies from the heat of the sun.

Ceremonial at Harvest Called Ka-pungaan.

The rice is ready to cut from fi\e to six months after the sowing. At harvest, ceremonies take place which are called Kapungd-

Small pieces of white cloth are favorite offerings at the out-of-door shrines ikramat) of the Malay peninsula. Cf. Skeat:  cit, p. 67, 74.

*'^For ceremonies at rice-planting in the Peninsula, cf. Skeat: op. cit., pp.228 — 235.


an,^^^ a word meaning "the finish," referring to the close of the season in which rice is grown,

A shrine is set up in the field, in the shape of a little hut which bears the name of roro. In this shrine is put, as soon as  harvested, a small portion of rice for the diwata and for the constellation Balatik, which appears in December, one of the months when harvest is celebrated. A portion of the rice in the roro is offered to the three constellations, Mamare, Marara and Buaya — star-clusters under which the rice was sown, and to which the first fruits are now due. ^^^

The religious performance in the house, following the cutting of the rice, is characterized by such typical ceremonial elements as the offering of manufactured products on an agong altar, the offering of food to the spirits, and the ceremony with betel.

The harvest ceremony at which I was present took place in the house of Datu Yting, of Santa Cruz, and covered about three hours, from half after one or two o'clock in the afternoon, until five, when the guests dispersed. The arrangements were largely in the hands of the women, ^^^ one presiding at the altar, and others arranging the sacred utensils.

A wide, low platform, several feet long, close to the east wall of the main room, served as the altar, and in front of this the priestess Odal officiated, sitting on the floor, while another old woman of distinction, Kaba's wife, sat on a box at the south end of the platform, and from this slightly elevated position superintended the placing of dishes and other objects concerned in the rite.

At the north end of the platform, stood one or two large agongs, placed there for the offerings called sonaran. First of all, the

Three other names, 1 have heard applied to the harvest festival : one is Kaiapusan^ the Visayan word for "the finish;" another is Pokankaro, whose meaning I do not know; a third is Gatog-biaan^ which signifies "guessing the season." That guessing games were formerly played at harvest, and perhaps are still in use is certain, although I can give no explanation of them. Sometimes when children are at play, they run to the hemp-field, tear off abaca (hemp) leaves, poke holes for eyes, nose and mouth, and wear them as masks, called linotung, which, they say, are like those used at harvest "in the guessing."
One man is said to wear a mask called bale-coko. Masks called buso-busot I have heard from a Bagoho, are worn at one of the Visayan festivals.

* ' * The harvest ceremony differs in a number of details at Sibulan. Cf. F. C. Cole : op. cit., pp. 88—89. 1913.

* ' * Father Gisbert says that the harvest festival is called "the feast of women." See Blair and Robertson: vol. 43, p. 233. 1906.


articles of clothing and the ornaments to be presented before the gods were brought from various parts of the house by different members of the family, and put in piles upon the agongs, in the informal manner that characterizes this part of the ceremony at Ginum as well as at harvest. Many pieces of hemp and cotton cloth were brought by the women, including a great number of the cotton textiles woven in small checks that had very recently been taken off the loom in Yting's house. On the top of the pile of garments they put the ornaments — strings of beads, wide woven necklaces {sinalapid) and bracelets of brass. A good-sized betel-box {katakia) was placed on the floor at the side of the altar.
Just back of the heap of textiles stood a large, high burden-basket (bokub) partly filled with rice {palay) in the husk, intended as a thank offering to the spirits. Later there was placed in the basket a green spray of palay and a section of bulla-leaf twisted into the shape of a spoon.

The women proceeded, then, to arrange the leaf-dishes, and the crockery of some foreign white ware that stood in confusion on the altar. Every dish was handled by the old priestess, Odal, and from her received its final placing. She sat directly in front of the central point of the altar, erect, dignified, exact in the manipulation of every detail; yet all the time she was watched, closely and critically, by Kaba's wife, who knew the orthodox forms of arrangement equally well with Odal. Datu Yting's younger wife, Hebe, and a son of Yting's prepared dishes of food by placing rice and grated cocoanut on the plates; and Hebe's sister helped her in the handing of areca-nuts to Odal, as from time to time they were needed. Yting's older wife, Soleng, walked about the room and near the altar, and made suggestions here and there about the arrangements, or gave some definite direction to the younger women — even to Odal. Occasionally, Soleng or Datu Yting would detect some little break and hastily interfere; or would check some intended move of Odal's with a hastily uttered caution that this or that would be madat (bad), or that it would bring upon them all the sickness called pamalii. One of these warnings was uttered when Odal attempted to break the spray of bulla.

The priestess arranged in a straight line, directly across the altar before her, nine saucers of thick white ware, each of which contained white food, of mingled cocoanut meat and boiled rice.
She placed betel on the rice in several of the saucers immediately.


and in the remaining saucers as the ceremony proceeded. Beginning with the saucer farthest to her right, and moving her hand from right to left, she placed one areca-nut with a buyo-leaf in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth saucers. In the third dish she put three of the little knives (gulat) used by women in all of their work. She let the knives stand upright, near the rim of the dish, with the points of their blades imbedded in the rice. At the center of the same dish, she stuck in the food three needles, points downward, two having been threaded with long white hemp, one with short ends of hemp thread colored black, such as women use for the process of overlacing warp. Later, she put an areca-nut on its betel-leaf in this third saucer, and one each in the seventh, eighth, ninth and second, as named, ending with the second from the right.

Immediately back of the nine saucers, Odal made another row of nine dishes, but these were of hemp leaf twisted into a boat-shaped vessel'^^^ such as is used on ceremonial occasions, and in each of these the younger women had put a very small handful of rice and grated cocoanut. Odal added to each a betel-leaf and a thin section of areca-nut, about one-eighth of a lengthwise slice.

The priestess now proceeded to arrange a third row of dishes, directly behind the preceding. This row consisted of nine good-sized crockery plates, heaped up with boiled rice, well-moulded in conical form. As at every festival, certain plates were prepared for distinguished guests; here the number of plates thus designated was six; at Ginum it was eight. I do not know, however, whether the number six in this connection is distinctive of the harvest rites, for this was the only harvest feast that I attended. On these six plates, the moulds of rice were decorated with very small red crabs, arranged in a circle around the base. Above these, were slices of hard-boiled eggs, and encircling the apex of the cone were rings of little fish of a blackish color, the name of which I failed to ascertain. Near the rim of each plate lay eight or nine small
heaps of a russet-brown powder, evidently the pounded seed called lung', an edible seed that is used much more commonly in the interior than at the coast, but here included as a representative food to be laid, with the other first fruits, before the spirits.
Waving from the top of the mould of rice on each dish were two

' See pp. 101, cit— 113.


or three sprays of green nito'-^^' bearing small white buds. The color display was most brilliant and artistic, an effect which may have been unconsciously produced, for the food elements were probably placed in that particular order in obedience to custom.
The remaining three plates of the nine had smaller moulds of rice, with no crabs, fish, or eggs.

The details of laying out the altar table were concluded when Odal placed to the right of the first row of saucers another saucer containing the ceremonial red rice called omok.^'^'^ To the left of this first row she set a bowl containing a few spoonfuls of cocoanut- water from a fresh nut, and just in front of this bowl she laid one of the great circular leaves from the luago — a pile of brown, powdered lunga-seed lying on the leaf. The bowl and the leaf, however, were not put in place until a somewhat later point in the ritual.

Now, Datu Yting who for some time had been lying stretched out on the floor, got up and took a hand in the performance. At the extreme left of the first row of saucers, he placed one of the large, flat baskets that are used by women when they toss the pounded grain to let the wind blow off the chaff. Yting laid eight of the heavy work-knives ^^^ called rice-winnower, together with four of the short knives called simgi^ such as men use for doing their fine carving of wood, and for cutting up areca- nuts. He brought all of these knives together in a pile, except one poko that was added later, and after putting them into the basket he said a few ritual words over them.

Immediately afterwards, the priestess opened her prayer, which was a long one. At first, she was prompted several times by Yting and Ikde; but afterward she proceeded fluently and without break for perhaps fifteen minutes, while holding in her hand a spray of manangid which she waved back and forth over the objects on the altar. In the ritual over the clothing, she mentioned by name

^^^ Lygodium scandens: a climbing plant having a slender, glossy-black stem that is widely used for making neckbands and bracelets.

*«*See pp. 138, 139.

^®* Father Gisbert seems to have had this part of the ceremonial in mind, when he wrote: "When they harvest their rice or maize, they give the first fruits to the diuata, and do not eat them, or sell a grain without first having made their hatchets, bolos, and other tools which they use in clearing their fields eat first." Blair and Robertson: op. cit., vol. 43; pp. 237—238. 1906.


each class of garments that she was presenting to the gods: panapisan (skirts), ampit (cotton textiles), sinalapid (wide necklaces), pankis (brass bracelets), and when dedicating the first fruits of the products of the field she turned slightly in the direction of the plate, or bowl, or leaf-dish that she was offering. At a certain point in the service, Yting handed to her a plain, undecorated lime-tube, and she went through with the motions of sprinkling lime over the betel, although no lime came out, because it had become dried in the tube. For a few minutes during the invocation, Hebe, having stepped to the altar, stood directly back of Odal. As she went forward, she told me in a low tone, on passing, that her own dios were now being called upon. When Odal had finished, Datu Yting offered a brief prayer.

Then followed the binang; that is, the partaking of the now sacred fruits of the field by individuals in the following order:
Datu Yting, Soleng (the elder wife), the priestess Odal, Sumi, Hebe (the younger wife), Brioso (Y ting's eldest son), Hebe's sister, then Ikde, Modesto's mother and several other old women, then the younger women and the men. Each individual took a very little rice with his fingers from some one dish and put the rice into his mouth. A few took from several dishes, apparently in a fixed order.
Yting began with the third row of large plates, then passed on to the first row of saucers, and finally returned to the plates. Soleng took a portion from the third saucer, in which Odal had stuck the needles and the little knives. The six large plates of rice, garnished with fish, eggs, etc., were handed entire to the guests of rank.
The ceremony closed when all of the food had been eaten. ^^*

In the evening, there was the usual gathering at Yting's house for the consultatation of the manganito spirits.

^^* A letter written by Father Gisbert, and dated January 4, 1886, briefly characterizes the harvest festival among the Bagobo. "They have two feasts annually: one before the sowing of rice, and the other after its harvest. This last is of an innocent enough character, and is called the feast of women. At that feast all the people gather at the house of their chief or the master of the feast, at the decline of the afternoon.
That day they feast like nobles, and drink until it is finished the sugar-cane wine which has been prepared for that purpose. There is music, singing, and dancing almost all the night, and the party breaks up at dawn of the following day." Blair and Robertson: op. cit., vol. 43, pp. 233—234. ]906.

For a description of the elaborate reaping ceremonies practised by the Malays of Selangor, see Skeat, op, cit., pp. 235 — 239.


Marriage Rites

Courtship and marriage come about in a very spontaneous manner among the young people of the Bagobo. The girls are quite as independent as the boys, and both are of an age, when the question of marriage comes up, to be fully able to make their own decisions.
Child marriage, or contract for the marriage of children, does not exist among thom. The girl is from fifteen to eighteen years of age, at least, and the boy, eighteen or twenty, at the time of marriage. During courtship there are abundant opportunities for meeting without surveillance from their elders, for songs and walks, for glances and smiles and chewing of betel together. The girls are exceedingly dignified, yet always frank and kindly in their behavior with young men.

Ordinarily the boy asks the consent of the girl directly, and then goes to her parents, placating them with gifts of agongs if they object. Another method which is called a "very good way" is for the boy to tell his father that he wants a certain girl, and ask him to go to her parents; "the boy sends his father" to manage the affair.
In other cases, the negotiations are initiated by the parents of the respective fam.ilies.

"Marriage by purchase" in the sense that many of the early writers on ethnology use the term is unknown among the Bagobo.
Though the young man gives a present to his prospective father- in-law for the privilege of marrying the girl, his situation is very | different from that which is found among tribes where the woman is actually sold against her will. In the first place, the Bagobo woman is a free agent; she accepts or rejects her suitor at will; her parents will not force her to marry unless she wishes. Secondly, it should be noted that if the young man is accepted, the girl's father gives him in return for the gift he has brought a present equal to one-half of its value; that is to say, if the boy brings ten agongs, the girl's father gives him five of his own agongs, thus making a very personal gift, and completely removing the stigma of selling his daughter. She is honored, deferred to, consulted in everything by her husband to an extent that often seems to place her at the head of the family. A word from his wife will often mould a man's plans and change his intentions on the spot. That the purchase of the woman, in the sense of a marriage gift to her


father, necessarily implies the bondage of the woman, or even a minimizing of the respect in which she is held by the man, is effectually disproved in Bagobo family life, just as it is disproved in many another primitive group.

Trial Marriage.^^"^ A wide latitude prevails in regard to a set time for the formal marriage ceremony. In general, the wedding takes place while the boy and the girl are still respectively malaki and daraga^ or virgins, They marry first, it is said, and try each other afterwards. Another Bagobo custom, which seems to be an ancient one, is to permit the couple to meet without restriction, but to defer the Bagobo ceremonial until after the birth of the first child, or even later. During the period of reciprocal test, if no child is born either one of the lovers may change face, reject the other, and choose another partner. The marriage of Oun and Une was not solemnized with Bagobo rites until three children had been born, the eldest being then six years of age, and the youngest, eighteen months old. But Oyog married Daban immediately after the birth of their first child.

Formal Ceremony called Taliduma.^^^ A formal marriage is an act of high ceremonial significance, at which event such important ritual acts appear as the application of medicine with water (pamalugu), the drinking of sugar cane liquor (balabba), the chanting of gindaya, and even, occasionally, a human sacrifice.

Rites peculiar to marriage include the discarding of old garments and throwing them into the river, an act typical of the casting out of disease; the pointing of a spear toward the mountain, emblematical of the warding off of misfortune; the plaiting together of locks of hair, symbolizing, possibly, the permanence of the union; the exchange of gifts; the setting up of a house-altar when the new family is formed. The entire ritual of marriage, which is performed by a priest or priestess, covers more than twenty-four hours, and informal drinking and feasting often begin a day or two before the formal ceremony.

The first event of the main day is the bringing of the agongs

*^^ Cf. the mythical romance, "The Malaki's sister and the Basolo," Jour. Am. Polk-Lore, vol. 26, pp. 39, 40. 1913.

**^ I did not have the good lack to see a marriage ceremony. The account here recorded was given me by Islao, and I have checked it up by one or two other accounts that came to me.

*"' T«/z-means "to tie," and ditma, "the other," "the wife," or "the husband."


that are to furnish the wedding music into the house of the girl's parents. This performance occurs at about seven a. m., and is called piid k'agong. The instruments are supposed to be furnished by the bridegroom, and include those that he brings as the marriage price, and others that he borrows for the occasion if his purchase falls short.

When the sun is about two hours high — that is to say, about eight o'clock — the couple to be married, their families and all the friends who have arrived, go in procession to the river, where a convenient place has been selected for the ceremony. Two small flat bowlders that lie close together and project above the water are picked out in a narrow part of the stream's bed where the water runs shallow. The young man and the young woman are directed by the old people to sit down on these two stones, while the people cluster at the edge of the river. The sitting on the stones is a rite called gunsad.

There follows the pamalugu, or ceremonial washing. The old man or the old woman who officiates as priest steps down into the stream, holding in his hand a bunch of medicine (uU-uU) composed of small branches, leaves and stems of freshly-plucked plants of many varieties that possess magic properties. The priest stands over the young couple, and having dipped the bunch of medicine into the stream he holds it above them, and lets the water drip down upon their heads and bodies. Then with the uli-uli he rubs the head and joints of the pair, giving one downward stroke to each joint, in the following order: top of head, back of neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knuckles, finger-joints, hips, knees, ankles, toes, jaw, and last of all the face. The object of the pamalugu is to make the bodies of the young people strong and vigorous, and to keep out disease.

A magical rite for warding off sickness and misfortune is that of bracing the mountain (T'okud ha Pahungan). The priest takes two short spears and points them at one of the neighboring mountains (it was Mount Roparan when Oun married Une) and at the same time recites a formula to the effect that the mountain may not roll down on the young couple and bring them sickness.
Then he puts the spears in place, one back of the boy, and the other back of the girl, letting the spears stand braced by stones.
They say they do this because it is Bagobo custom (htitascm)^ and that it is s'alat or something to keep sickness away, because it


means that the mountain will not roll down on them. After the ceremony, the two spears are laid in the river and left there.

The next rite is the gantugan^ or throwing of garments into the water. Up to this point in the ceremony, the young man and the girl have been dressed in old shabby clothes, so far as externals indicate, but now the girl draws off her skirt (panajnsan) and reveals beneath a beautiful, newly- woven skirt. She throws her old panapisan into the river. At the same time, the man takes off his poor trousers (saroar)^ under which he wears a fine new pair, and flings the old pair into the stream, where the current carries it down together with the panapisan. It is said that with the old garments all the sickness goes away, floating out to sea.

The old man then ties together a lock of the man's hair and a lock of the girl's hair as a mark of their union — a function
called gsu gpa cal. The tying of hair is followed by the exhortation called patongkoy when the priest addresses the newly-married pair in the following words. "You must put the altar tigyama in your house, for an alat to keep away sickness. Take a white dish and put into it areca-nuts and betel-leaf, and keep it in your house.
Whenever you get sick, put some more betel in the dish. You must never take betel from the tigyama for chewing, because that would make you very sick."

During the entire ceremony at the river, which lasts for upwards of an hour, all of the guests who wish to do so may bathe in the river since the water acts as an alat, or charm, to make their bodies strong against the attacks of sickness. Very many of the Bagobo present go into the water for padigus, or bathing.

Between nine and ten o'clock, all return to the home of the bride, where beating of agongs and dancing take place, at intervals, throughout the entire day and guests keep on coming all day long.

During the evening, there is cooking of rice, broiling of pig and venison, and the accompanying preparations for a feast. At about nine o'clock, the festival meal comes off and the guests, seated on the floor in the customary manner, receive the food distributed by some of the younger women. After the meal, there is a general drinking of balabba, and afterwards beating of agongs and dancing to the music of agongs and flutes. A few young men chant ginday a in the usual antiphons. At some hour during the night, there takes place a set conversation, or discussion, among the old men,


who sit in a group on the floor, and decide matters that come up for consideration between the two families of the wedded pair, such as the exchange of suitable presents.

At break of dawn on the second morning, the agongs are beaten (fagong-cjo)^ and there is dancing (sumayo) for an hour or two.

When the sun is an hour high, — about seven o'clock, — the ceremonies of the day are started under way. There is first an ex- change of gifts between the bride and her husband — a ceremony known as pahiikise. She gives him a good textile made up into a panapisan, which she may have worn for a few days or more, at pleasure, since she took it from the loom. His gift to her is commonly a wide, solid brass armlet, or an entire set of bracelets for one arm or for both. A set, or hude^ for one arm may consist of forty to sixty rings of brass cut from heavy wire, some of which are plain, some punched in decorative patterns. Two or three fine cast bracelets usually form part of such a set. There is no ceremonial restriction on the disposal of these marriage tokens; they may be kept or sold, at the wish or the need of the young people.

Soon after the exchange of presents, the rite of tigyama takes place. The bride furnishes one saucer or small deep plate, of white crockery, and her husband brings another. Both of these dishes, called pingan^ must be old ones. The pingan are placed with ritual words, and they remain for an indefinite time in their place below the edge of the sloping roof. Areca-nuts and buyo-leaf are put into the dishes for the god Tigyama, with a prayer to be kept from sickness. This entire rite has an important magical value for the prevention of disease and for the cure of sickness, and hence is called alat.

The gift to the old man, or woman, who officiates is termed ikut — the same name as that given to an old article reserved for the gods, for the priest's fee has a religious significance akin to that associated with a gift to the gods. The bride and her husband present, jointly, two or three articles of some slight value: a spear and a piece of textile, or a shirt simply embroidered, together with a bracelet of brass, or a few hand-cast bells. The giving of ikut closes the ceremony, usually at about nine o'clock in the morning.

During the day or the night following the wedding, there is held a meeting of the old men, called gokum hagako. This is a form of assembly characterized by antiphonal singing interspersed


with conversation, and having for its object a financial settlement between the two families, in regard to the marriage price. The bridegroom may have been obliged to borrow the agongs, or to buy on credit; the man to whom he owes the instruments may be inclined to come and take them away from the bride's father; the number of agongs brought in by the young man may fall short of those he promised for the marriage price; and numerous complications may arise among a people so ingenious in resources for borrowing, as well as for pawning and promising payment in articles that they hope sometime to acquire. In any case, there might arise a question as to how many agongs are due of those customarily given back by the father of the bride. Gokum lasts, often, far into the night or until morning.

In marriages among families of wealth and distinction, the killing of a slave as a religious sacrifice (paghuaga) is regarded as an im- portant factor for insuring an auspicious marriage. This is an old custom among the Bagobo, and as late as 1886 Father Gisbert writes: "When they [the Bagobo] marry, if the lovers think that it will be of any use, they make a human sacrifice so that they may have a good marriage, so that the weather may be good, so that they may have no storm, sickness, etc., all things which they attribute to the devil." ^^^ During my own stay among the Bagobo, no such instance came to my knowledge.

According to Bagobo custom, the young man lives in the home of the bride's parents for perhaps a year, more or less, or at least until his own new house is built. When this is ready they set up their own establishment. But if a Bagobo girl marries a Visayan, she will go with her husband to the house of his parents, in accordance with Visayan custom, for a longer or shorter period.

Neither tribal exogamy nor tribal endogamy exists among the Bagobo. They marry ^^^ freely both within their own tribe and

^«» Blair and Robertson: op. cit., vol. 43, p. 235. 1906.

^^^ The mixture of the Bagobo with other tribes, which is considerable, will lead to interesting questions concerning changes in Bagobo ritual from the outside influence thus brought in. In the sparsely-settled country in the near vicinity of Santa Cruz, I noted seventeen families in which a Bagobo man or woman had taken a mate from some other tribe. Of these, there were five matings of Bagobo with Tagakaola; six with Visayan; two with Tagal; two with Bila-an; one with Zamboanguinian Moro; while one Bagobo man had three wives — one each, from the Tagakaola, the Bagobo and the Bila-an tribes, respectively. In the mountains, intermarriage between the Bagobo and Bila-an peoples,


into other wild tribes with where they are on friendly terms, as well as with the civilized Visayan and Tagalog. Nor is there any law regulating village endogamy or village exogamy, for they choose partners in the same village, as well as from other villages; but whether or not there is any regulation as to marriage within a certain cluster of villages, I am not able to state.

Rites attending Death and Burial.

As sketched in a preceding chapter, '^^^ the tahaivanan^ or good soul, goes after death to the pleasant underworld; while the tehang^ or evil soul, departs to find its place among the buso. The dead body, abandoned by both of those personalities that have dominated it during life, is left as the helpless prey of flesh-eating fiends, unless it be safeguarded by friends. Attendants gather around the dying person, to rub his face with the fragrant leaves of tagomaing and manangid and other sweet-smelling plants that have a magical efficacy against the demons. "We do this," they say, "so that Buso cannot come to the sick man; these plants make Buso afraid." If such precautions were neglected a buso would come and suck the blood of the dying ^^* before the heart-beat had ceased.

After death the body is left on the floor, lying on the same mat used during the sickness. A little cushion is put under the head and a piece of hemp or cotton textile is spread over the body, covering the head also. Before the American occupation, a wide strip of Bagobo textile was always used for covering the dead, but now it is a gaudy striped cotton cloth of Moro weave. It appears that this change is intended as a sop to the American government thrown in all sincerity by the Bagobo on account of a laughable, albeit pathetic, misinterpretation of a scrap of our nomenclature.
When the Bagobo learned that a large part of Mindanao, including their own territory, had been named by our government the Moro

who are very friendly together, is not unusual. To what extent the traditions and ceremonies are being affected by these unions, is a problem that ought to be minutely investigated. Modifications in material culture and in decorative art are continually being introduced by inter-mixture; and, unquestionably, we may expect to find borrowed episodes appearing in the myths, borrowed rites incorporated into the ceremonies.

^^•'See pp. 50—61.

^ ^ ^ Although Buso is not supposed, ordinarily, to harm the living, those at the point of death are thought to be in danger of his attack.


Province, they at once inferred that Americans wished to favor these traditional enemies of the mountain tribes. Moro customs and Moro products would be favored by Americans. ''We now take a Moro gintulu to cover the dead man, because if we used the Bagobo cloth it would make the American governor of the Moro province angry." Before the funeral the body is dressed in a nice pair of trousers, if a man, or fine woven skirt, if a woman, so that it be suitably arrayed for making its entrance into Gimokudan.

During the one or two nights that pass before burial, a death- watch (damag) is observed to protect the corpse from all the buso, who are supposed to smell it from afar and to come flying or running to eat the flesh, but who fear to enter a company of living people. At the coast, it is customary to play at the wake a Visayan game of cards called traysetis^ but whether any function of divination is attached to the game, or whether it be a mere device to keep awake, is not known to me. A little jesting and fun relieve the strain. If anybody falls asleep he is not disturbed, but they punish him by scraping soot from the bottom of the clay pots and slyly rubbing it over the miscreant's face and legs.
When he wakens in the morning he sees his blackened skin, and realizes to his deep mortification that they have made game of him.

A highly efficacious device for scaring Buso from the coffin is that of producing a crocodile design ^^^ on coffin or pall. In the mountains, it was formerly the custom when a datu died to carve the head and lid of his coffin into the shape of a crocodile's head with open jaws showing tongue and teeth. The head was a carving in the round that projected in front of the body of the coffin, the lid forming the upper jaw, so that to open the coffin it would be necessary to lift the upper jaw and thus open the mouth of the dreaded reptile.

In ordinary burials, a conventional pattern of lozenges and zig-zags made from strips of red or white cotton cloth is tacked on the black cloth that covers the sides and lid of the box, thus producing a highly schematic representation that is called huaya^ or crocodile. The women tear off lengths of cloth and turn down the edges in exact folds, while the men attach the strips to the pall.

At the closing of the coffin, the chief mourner gives utterance

»«* See p. 42.


to a perfunctory wail. If a man is to be buried, the wife or daughter sits down on the floor at the precise moment when some male relative is picking up the lid of the coffin, and as he lowers it to the box she places her right forearm horizontally across her eyes in the customary attitude of grief, and begins to wail in that high-pitched, plaintive tone peculiar to Bagobo women and little girls. The wail seems on the border line between genuine grief and a cry meant as a feature of the occasion. While this wail goes on, an old woman, mother or grandmother, makes a ritual exhortation to the spirit of the dead, her eyes fixed steadily on the coffin, her glance following keenly every movement of the men
and directed toward the exact place where a nail is being driven.
Precisely with the placing of the last nail, the old woman ceases speaking, and the young woman's grief closes abruptly.

If the funeral takes place in the early morning, breakfast is served to family and friends immediately after the coffin is closed, but before anybody receives a portion of rice the first handful ^^^ is taken out to put with the onong for the dead. Someone near of kin to the deceased wraps the boiled rice in a banana-leaf and puts it into the dead man's carrying-bag, before joining the rest to eat rice and to chew betel. At the close of the meal, they gather up the things that will be needed at the burial —  to lay in the grave, and the food and other conveniences that the soul is to take along on its journey to Kilut.

In the mountains, a burial-box is hollowed out from a section of tree trunk or a log split lengthwise; but Bagobo families living near the coast have formed the habit of shaping out a coffin, after the manner of foreigners, but it is made barely large enough to sqeeze the body into. Measurements taken by myself on the coffin of Obal, a fairly tall Bagobo whose body was enormously swollen by disease, gave an extreme length of 5 feet 3 inches; a maximum width at the head end of 1 foot 6 inches, sloping sharply to a width of 8 inches at the top of the lid; while the foot of the box had a maximum width of 11 inches, with a slope to 4 inches at top.

I was told that in former times the Bagobo made no coffin of

^^^This custom was noticed by Father Mateo. "When anyone dies, they never bury him without placing for him his share of rice to be eaten on the journey" Blair and Robertson: op. cit., vol. 43, p. 237. 1906.

Professor Boas tells me that this is a Mexican word.


any sort, but simply spread a petati or two at the bottom of the grave to receive the body. A vestige of this old custom appears at the present time, when the same mats upon which the person died are carried by somebody near of kin, and laid in the grave before the body is lowered, so that they lie under the coffin. For chieftains and persons of rank, a burial-box has probably been used for a very long period.

If the body is to be carried any considerable distance for burial, the coffin is placed on a rough bier (tiangan), consisting of two long poles and two short cross-pieces, tied together with rattan.
Male relatives bear the dead to the grave. At the funeral of Obal, three cousins carried the coffin, and Obal's daughter carried three forked sticks on which the bier would be placed at intervals on the road, when the bearers stopped for rest; she carried the petati, too.

While Jesuit influence has led those Bagobo who live near the coast to inter in one section of land set apart for a graveyard, the mountain Bagobo continue the ancient custom of burying their dead in the ground directly beneath the family house — a convenient place, on account of the Malay mode of house construction, by which the floor is lifted several feet above the ground. Many references in the writings of Spanish missionaries ^^'^ show that the old Filipino
custom was to make individual burials under the house, or in the open field.

The grave {kalian) is measured, as custom requires, by the stature of the digger; ^^^ that is to say, the top of the wall of the grave must be on a level with a point of the body somewhere between waist and breast. The grave runs north and south, and the body is placed with head to the north, so that it faces south.

At the moment of lowering the coffin into the grave, another

*»5 The Visayan of Cebu, according to tlie chronicler of the Legaspi expedition, 1564 — 1568, buried in coffins, with rich clothes, pottery and gold jewels, the common people in the ground, but chiefs in lofty houses. Cf. Blair and Robertson: op. cit., vol. 2, p. 139. 1903. Chirino describes Filipino customs of embalming with the juice of buyo, and burying in coffins under the house, or in the open field. Cf. ibid., vol. 12, p. 30. 1904. Piasencia says that the Tagal buried beside his house, and that the chiefs were buried beneath a little house, or beneath a porch specially constructed. Cf. ibid., vol. 7, p. 194. 1903.

*''® Zoroastrian books prescribed the exact depth for a grave. ''On that place they shall dig a grave, half a foot deep if the earth be hard, half the height of a man if it be soft.'"* J. Darmesteter (tr.): "The Zend-Avesta.*' Sacred books of the East, vol. 4, p. 97, 1895.


ceremonial wail is heard. At the funeral of Obal, the mourner was his daughter Ungayan, his wife having died before him. It was she too who mourned when the lid was nailed down. When the coffin was lifted from the bier by Maliguna, Ogtud and Bungan, the three men cousins of Obal, Ungayan stooped down on the ground, and just as the coffin was placed in the grave she reached down and with one hand silently touched the head of the coffin.
This she did twice or thrice. Then she rose and walked a few steps east of the grave, where she squatted on her feet, then turned her head partly away from the grave and placed her right arm horizontally across her eyes. One of the relatives dropped upon the coffin Obal's old kabir in which was deposited the rice that had been put aside at breakfast, with some coffee, a few areca nuts and buyo leaves, Obal's tobacco-tube (kokong)^ and two lime- tubes (tagan)^ all of which constituted the traveling-outfit (onong) for Obal's soul. Then the three cousins began to push earth into the grave. Simultaneously with the falling of the first clod, Ungayan took up her wail for the second time that day, crying and moaning as before, but for a longer period and in a more vehement manner.
While she mourned, her young husband, Ulian, made an invocation addressed to the gimokud of Obal, which was supposed to have been walking through the village since death, but whose departure for Kilut must now be hastened. The intention of the burial ritual seems rather for the benefit of the living than that of the dead, for it is recited with the hope that the gimokud will go down in peace to Kilut, without attempting to trouble the members of his family, or to draw them after him. They told me that Ulian said the words to keep Ungayan and himself and the others from getting sick. Ulian took up a slightly elevated position on the crooked trunk of a gnarled old balbalin tree, a part of which had curved in growth until it was almost parallel with the ground. Ulian looked steadily into the grave, gazing with a fixed stare at the coffin as it disappeared beneath the falling clods, as if his attention were wholly riveted upon the spirit which he was
addressing in an urgent entreaty to depart. ^'^' This formula was called dasol^ and ran as follows.

^ ^ ' The tradition that the soul lingers near the grave and funeral customs that express this belief are widespread in the Malay region. Martin says: "Besonders wichtig sind die Vorstellungen, die sich die Inlandstamme von dem Verhalten der Seeie nach dem Tode machen. Am meisten verbreitet ist der Glaube, dass der Geist heim


"Do not envy us, Kawanan. ^^^ We have got you. What is the matter? I see you grieving. You are going there to the One Country. ^^^ Do not be sorry. Go there to the One Country.
Do not speak, because you are going there. We are here above.
We must eat now at our house because we are alive. You, you are there in the One Country. We are living. If we speak in Bagobo, you must answer in Bagobo. Feet, hands, eyes, nose, mouth, head, belly, forearms, back — you must turn away; you will go out from here. Show the sole of your foot, your palm. It was your short line of life that killed you. Do not come from the One Country. We bury you in the ground; we dig the walls of the grave. We will set pots on thestones, place dishes, put wood on the fire, cook food, dishing ^^^ it with spoons. Let us walk far away. We are sleepy. You will be on your road for three nights. When we reach our home, we will rest because we are tired. Walking hurts my knees. My whole body hurts. My arm pains me from elbow to wrist. I am sleepy because I am tired from walking a long way. I hurt my foot on a sharp bamboo sugian ^^* while I was getting betel-leaf and cutting bananas. I shall dig camotes to fill the burden baskets, because we are going home to our house; for we will cook them because I am hungry.
All day I did not eat until the setting of the sun. We will spread the petati for sleep. Give me a kisi. ^^-^ The mosquitoes are stinging me. Kindle a fire, because many small gnats ^^^ are biting already. Bad mosquitoes sting me all over. Put away the dishes.

Tode den Korper Terlasst und nacli einem paradiesischen Lande gelangt, wo er in ailer Ewigkeit verweilt. In den Einzelheiten dieser Legende bestehen aber ziemliche Differenzen, die wohl, zum Teil wenigstens, anf Vermischung mit ahnlichen, fremdartigen Vorstellungeu beruhen. So glauben die Besisi, dass die Seele zunachst sich noch einige Zeit in
der Nahe des Grabes aufhalte, und daraus erklaren sich gewisse, bereits erwahnte Grab- gebrauche. Auch die Sitte, den Ort, an welchem ein Mensch gestorben ist und begraben wurde, zu verlassen, diirfte mit jener Vorstellung zusammenhangen, da naturgemass der umschwebende Geist den Hinterbliebenen Scbaden tun konnte." Die Inlandstamme der malayisclien Halbinsel, p. 950. 1905.

*®^The good soul, or gimokud iakawanan.

* * ^ The land of the dead, called also the Great Country.

^^^ This reference is probably to the funeral feast.

^^^ A trap of sharp bamboo points.

^''^ A mantle of woven cotton which a Bagobo sometimes wraps round him at night.

^''^ A hint of the actual condition at the moment, for swarms of little gnats filled the air. In that tropical jungle, the bodies of the men, naked to the the waist, were covered with swarming and crawling things — vermin, black and yellow, long and shiny-looking.


We have finished eating. I will sweep the floor, chew betel, put tobacco in my mouth and shake out lime. The river has risen.
We cannot cross. It is swollen." ^^^

By the time that Ulian had finished the recitation of the dasol, the grave was entirely covered, and the frame forming the bier was laid on the grave, with the forked sticks placed on top. Ulian then stepped down from his place, and all the mourners went home.

A feast and a dance are often given after the funeral by families that can afford the expense.

Another custom is to leave the body in the house, while the family, after carefully closing the door and fastening the windows, moves away and builds a new house to live in. Sometimes the new house is very near to the old one which contains the body. I have seen in a lonely forest on the mountains two small huts but a few feet apart, one of which little houses was. said to contain the body of a boy, while his family lived in the other. I was told that they lived there because they loved their little boy, and wanted to be near him. An additional motive may have been the hope of protecting the body of their dear child from the attacks of Buso, since the bad demon is traditionally afraid of living people.

An ancient custom of tree-burial is suggested by the story, ^The Tuglibung and the Tuglay, ^^^ in which the hero laid the body of his little sister in the branches of a tree, "because the child was dead." Although in the myths thus far published this is a unique case, it is not unlikely that such a disposal of the body was common in old times. This probability is strengthened by the fact that tree-houses used to be used rather widely by the Bagobo and by the Bila-an people. The leaving of a corpse in the tree-house ^^^ would then correspond to the present custom of shutting up a home with the body inside.

**** The text of the address to the departing spirit was given me by Ulian after the funeral. It seems to end abruptly, but such an ending is often characteristic of the Bagobo songs and stories as well as of speeches. The exhortation contains several references to the funeral feast, which gives the customary termination to the ceremony and perhaps offers additional consolation to the departing soul.

*«^ See Jour. Am. Folk-lore, vol. 26, p. 26. Jan.-Mar., 1913.

^*«From Ouirante's account, the Igorot, at the time of their discovery by Spain, used to bury in caves, but they also made use of the trees for placing their dead. "Others they set in the trees, and they carry food for so many days after having left them." Blair and Robertson: op. cii., vol. 20, p. 275. 1904.

Bagobo Ceremonial Magic and Myth

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