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312                  JOTJKNEYS IN" KURDISTAN       LETTER sxix

Men and women, of course, dance separately, and the
women much in the background. The dancing, as I have
seen it, is slow and stately. A number of either sex join
hands in a ring, and move round to slow music, at times
letting go each other's hands for the purpose of gesticula-
tion and waving of handkerchiefs. It is not unlike the
national dance of the Bakhtiaris. The women not
only keep in retirement on this but on all occasions.
They never sit at meat with the men, but take their food
afterwards in private—indeed, I strongly suspect that
they eat the leavings of their superiors. It is not, how-
ever, only the women who occupy a subordinate position.
Young men treat not only their fathers but their elder
brothers with extreme respect; and when there are guests
at table the sons do not sit down with the fathers, but
wait on the guests, and take their own meals, like the
women, afterwards.

The Syrians call Easter " The Great Feast" and Christ-
mas " The Little Feast." At the former, eggs coloured red
are lavishly bestowed. The festival of the Epiphany also
receives great honour, but it is curious that a people who
believe that they owe their Christianity to the Wise Men
should not keep this feast so much in commemoration
of them as of our Lord's baptism. So much does the
latter view preponderate, that the Urmi Christians call it
by a name which means " The New Waters." Here in
the mountains, however, it is called "The Brightness."
During the night before the celebration of the Kourlana
on the Feast of the Epiphany it is customary to plunge
into frozen pools ! " One Lord, one faith, one baptism "
they hold with us, and it is of great interest to recognise
this fact in the midst of many superstitions and even

It is impossible by any language to convey an idea of
the poverty and meanness, the blackness and accumula-