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DRINKING THE BLOOD OF GRAPES.

191

7. SYMBOLIC SUBSTITUTES FOR BLOOD.

As the primitive and more natural method of commingling bloods, in the blood-covenant, by sucking each other's veins, or by an inter-transference of blood from the mutually opened veins, was in many regions superseded by the symbolic laving, or sprinkling, or anointing, with blood; and as the blood of the lower animals was often substituted, vicariously, for human blood;-so the blood and wine which were commingled for mutual drinking in the covenant-rite, or which were together poured out in libation, when the covenant was between man and the Deity, came, it would appear, to be represented, in many cases, by the wine alone. First, we find men pledging each other in a sacred covenant, in the inter-drinking of each other's blood mingled with wine. They called their covenant-draught, "assiratum," or "vinum assiratum"; "wine, covenant-filled." By and by, apparently, they came to count simple wine-"the blood of grapes "as the representative of blood and wine, in many forms of covenanting.

This mutual drinking, as a covenant-pledge, has been continued as an element in the marriage ceremony, the world over, down to the present time. It would even

1 Gen. 49: II; Deut. 32: 14; Ecclesiasticus 39: 26; 50: 15; I Macc. 6: 34.

seem that the gradual changes in the methods of this symbolic rite could be tracked, through its various forms in this ceremony, in different portions of the world. Among the wide-spreading 'Anazeh Bed'ween, the pouring out of a blood libation is still the mode of completing the marriage-covenant. When the marriage day is fixed," says Burckhardt,1 "the bridegroom comes with a lamb in his arms to the tent of the father of his bride, and then, before witnesses, he cuts its throat. As soon as the blood falls upon the earth, the marriage ceremony is regarded as complete." Among the Bed'ween of Sinai, as Palmer tells us, the bride is sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, before she is surrendered to the bridegroom. Lane's mention of the prominence of outpoured blood at the weddings of the Copts in Cairo, has already been cited. Among the Arabs, since the days of Muhammad, wine has been generally abjured, and coffee now commonly takes its place as a drink, in all ordinary conferences for covenanting.

In Borneo, among the Dayaks, the bride and the bridegroom sit side by side, facing the rising sun. Their parents then besprinkle them with the blood of some animal, and also with water. "Each being next presented with a cup of arrack, they mutually pour half into each 1 In Beduinen und Wahaby, p. 86 f.

2 Desert of the Exodus, I., 90.

3 See page 72, supra.

THE FIXING POINT OF THE COMPACT. 193

other's cup, take a draught, and exchange vessels." 1 In Burmah, among the Karens, water is poured upon the bride as she enters the bridegroom's house. When she is received by the bridegroom, "each one then gives the other to drink, and each says to the other, Be faithful to thy covenant.' This is the proper marriage ceremony, and the parties are now married." 2

The blood of an ox, or a cow, is caused to flow at the door of the bride's house, as a part of the marriage ceremony, in Namaqua Land.3 A similar custom prevails among the Kafirs of Natal; and an observer has said of this blood-flowing, in the covenanting rite: "This appears to be the fixing point of the ceremony"; this is "the real matrimonial tie." 4

"4

Again it is the sharing from the same dish in drinking, as well as in eating, that the bride and the bridegroom covenant in marriage, in the Feejee Islands.5 The liquor that is made the common draught, as a substitute for the primitive blood-potion, is commonly the spirituous drink of the region; whether that drink be wine, or arrack, or whiskey, or beer. The symbolism is the same in every case.

1 Wood's Wedding Day, p. 144.

2 Mason, in Journ. of Asiat. Soc. of Bengal, Vol. XXXV., Part II., p. 17; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., V., 9.

3 Andersson's Lake Ngami, p. 220 f.

4 Shooter's Kafirs of Natal, p. 77.

5 Williams and Calvert's Fiji and the Fijians, p. 134.

In the Sanskrit, the word asrij signifies both "blood," and "saffron." In the Hindoo wedding ceremony, in Malabar, "a dish of a liquid like blood, made of saffron and lime," is held over the heads of the bride and groom. When the ceremony is concluded, the newly married couple sprinkle the spectators with this blood-like mixture;2 which seems, indeed, not only here but in many other cases, in India, to have become a substitute for the covenanting blood. Reference has already been made to its use in connection with the covenant of the nose-ring; and the saffron colored cord of the wedding necklace, among the Brahmans, has also been mentioned.3

A still more remarkable illustration of this saffron mixture in lieu of blood, in formal covenanting, in India, is found in its use in the rite of "adoption." In India, as elsewhere throughout the East, the desire of every parent to have a son is very strong.. A son is longed for, to inherit the parental name and possessions, to perform the funeral rites and the annual ceremonies in honor of his parents; and, indeed, "it is said in the Dattaka-Mimansa, 'Heaven awaits not one who is destitute of a son."" When, therefore, parents have not a son of their own, they often formally adopt one; and, in this ceremony, saffron-water seems to

1 See Monier Williams's Sanskrit Dictionary, s. v.

2 See Pike's Sub-Tropical Rambles, p. 198. 3 See pages 77, 165, supra.

WATER-OF-SAFFRON CHILDREN.

195

take the place of blood, in the sacred and indissoluble covenant of transfer. So prominent indeed is this element of the saffron-water drinking-as the substitute for blood-drinking-in the covenant of adoption, that the adopted children of parents are commonly spoken of as their "water-of-saffron children." "Is it good to adopt the child, and give it saffron-water ?" is a question that "occurs eight times in the book of fate called Saga-thevan-sasteram." Formal sacrifices precede the ceremony of adoption, and mutual feasting follows it. The natural mother of the child, in his transfer to his new parents by adoption, hands with him a dish of consecrated saffron-water; and both the child and the blood-symbol are received by the adopting father, with his declaration that the son is now to enter into all that belongs to that father. 'Then he and his wife, pouring a little saffron water into the hollow of their hands, and dropping a little into that of the adoptive child, pronounce aloud before the assembly: 'We have acquired this child to our stem, and we incorporate him into it.' Upon which they drink the saffron-water, and rising up, make a profound obeisance to the assembly; to which the officiating Brahmans reply by the word, 'Asirva

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1 This Oriental custom gives an added meaning to the suggestion, that Christ was sent to bring us to his Father, "that we might receive th adoption of sons (Gal. 4: 5).

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