LETTER sxix THE HOLY COMMUNION 311 the Cross. When the elements are to be received the priest advances to the door of the sanctuary, and a deacon, completely enveloped by the curtain before the entrance, holds the paten while the priest gives the bread to the men first, then to the women and to the little children, held up either by father or mother. The adults receive the cup in order from the deacon, who passes it through a hole in a wall about six feet high, which runs parallel with the wall of the sanctuary, but at a little distance from it. On leaving the church after communion each person takes a piece of ordinary bread from a tray near the door. The priests and deacons communicate after the people when the sanctuary veil has again been drawn. The Eucharist is always celebrated at or before daybreak, except in the case of certain fast days and at funerals, when it is con- sidered a devotional act to fast till mid-day. During parts of the communion service one deacon swings a censer and another " clangs " a cymbal. The JS^ourbana as celebrated in the Syrian villages reminds me both of the great communion gatherings of the Scottish Highlands and the Church service which, in my childhood, ushered in the revelry of the village wake or feast. The festivals which, as in England, fall on the feast of the patron saint of the village are the great gaieties of Syrian life, and even the Kurd cannot altogether overshadow them. After the celebra- tion of the Rowland, at dawn, when the crowds are frequently so great that the church is filled by several successive congregations of communicants, the day is spent in visiting, and in every house fruit, sweetmeats, and tea are provided for all comers, and ardk, if it be obtainable, forms a part of the entertainment. Dances and games are kept up all day, and at its close many are drunk and disorderly. These are the occasions when fighting with the Moslems is apt to take place.