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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

100                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA            LETTER xs

not customary now to rejoice at the graves of women
or old men, unless the latter have been distinguished
warriors.

So far as I can learn, even in the case of the deaths
of fighting men, when the chapi is danced at the grave,
the women keep up the ordinary ceremonial of mourning,
which is very striking. They howl and wail, beating
their breasts rhythmically, keeping time with their feet,
tearing their hair and gashing their faces with sharp flints,
cutting off also their long locks and trampling upon them
with piteous cries. This last bitter token of mourning
is confined to the deaths of a husband and a first-born son,
and the locks so ruthlessly treated are afterwards attached
to the tombstone.

Mourning for a husband, child, or parent lasts a year,
and the anniversary of the death is kept with the same
ceremonies which marked the beginning of the period of
mourning. In the case of a great man who has died
fighting, the women of his tribe wail and beat their
breasts on this anniversary for many subsequent years.

Nothing is buried with the corpse, and nothing is
placed on the grave, but it is the universal custom to
put a stone at the head of the body, which is always
buried facing Mecca-wards. To this position they attach
great importance, and they covet my compass because it
would enable them at any point to find the position of
the Kiblah. A comb or distaff rudely carved on a
woman's headstone, and the implements of war or hunt-
ing on that of a man, are common, and few burial-places
are without one or more of the uncouth stone lions to
which frequent reference has been made.

The graveyards are very numerous, and are usually
on small elevations by the roadside, so that passers-by, if
they be Hadjis, may pray for the repose of the soul.
It must be understood that prayer consists in the repeti-