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If we compare this with the precepts of the "Manava-DharmaSastra-"The ceremony in honor of the manes is superior, for the Brahmins, to the worship of the gods, and the offerings to the gods that take place before the offerings to the manes have been declared to increase their merits "it will be easy to see that these teachings must have emanated from the same school.

This most ancient custom is likewise scrupulously followed by the Chinese, for whom the worship of the ancestors is as binding and sacred as that of God himself, whose representatives they have been for their children while on earth. Confucius in his book "Khoung-Tseu" dedicates a whole chapter to the description of the ceremony in honor of ancestors as practised twice a year, in spring and autumn,2 and in his book “Lun-yu” he instructs his disciples that "it is necessary to sacrifice to the ancestors as if they were present. The worship of the ancestors is paramount in the mind of the Japanese. On the fifteenth day of the seventh Japanese month a festival is held in honor of the ancestors, when a repast of fruit and vegetables is placed before the Ifays, or wooden tablets of peculiar shape, on which are written inscriptions commemorative of the dead.

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Great festivities were held by the Peruvians in honor of the dead in the month of Aya-marca, a word which means literally "carrying the corpses in arms." These festivities were established to commemorate deceased friends and relations. They were celebrated with tears, mournful songs, plaintive music, and by visiting the tombs of the dear departed, whose provi1 Manava-Dharma-Sastra, lib. iii., Sloka 203, also Slokas 127, 149, 207, etc., et passim.

2 Confucius, Khoung-Tseu, Tchoung-Young, chap. xix.

* Ibid., Lun-yu, chap. iii., Sloka 12.

sion of corn and chicha they renewed through openings arranged on purpose from the exterior of the tomb to vessels placed near the body.1

Even to-day the aborigines of Yucatan, Peten, and other countries in Central America where the Maya language is spoken, as if in obedience to this affirmation of the Hindoo legislator "The manes accept with pleasure that which is offered to them in the clearings of the forests, localities naturally pure; on river banks and in secluded places "2—are wont, at the beginning of November, to hang from the branches of certain trees in the clearings of the forests, at cross-roads, in isolated nooks, cakes made of the best corn and meat they can procure. These are for the souls of the departed to partake of, as their name hanal pixan (“the food of the souls ") clearly indicates.3

Does not this custom of honoring the dead exist among us to-day? The feast of "All Souls" is celebrated by the Catholic Church on the second day of November, when, as at the feast of the Feralia, observed on the third of the ides (February the eleventh) by the Romans, and so beautifully described by Ovid, people visit the cemeteries, carry presents, adorn 'Christoval de Molina, The Fables and Rites of the Yncas. Translation by Clements R. Markham, pp. 36–50.


2 Manava-Dharma-Sastra, lib. iii., Sloka 203.

Cakes were likewise offered to the dead in Egypt, India, Peru, etc.

Est honor et tumulis; animas placare paternas,

Parvaque in extructas munera ferre pyras :

Parva petunt manes: pietas pro divite grata est

Munere; non avidos Styx habet ima Deos;
Tegula porrectis satis est velata coronis,

Et sparsa fruges, parvaque mica salis.

Ovid, Fast 1, V. 533, et passim.

Tombs also have their honor; our parents wish for
Some small present to adorn their grave.

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