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means Bill-hook of Honour'; or it may be connected with the word mantra, prayer, spell. He holds this in his right hand while performing the dance.
No particular day of the week is selected by the Vaeddas for the ceremony, all days being alike to them. It usually takes place during the daytime, but occasionally at night, torches being then carried by the assistants. This appears to point to planetary influences over the hour selected for it, which in such cases will be determined by a Sinhalese Kapuwā.
The dance performed by the Vaeddas is an extremely simple one. The body is slightly bent forward, with the elbows near the sides, and the fore-arms extended horizontally. In this attitude the performer lifts up and lowers his feet alternately, turning round gradually to the right while chanting verses in honour of the God, to the air, which begins each stanza :-Tänan tanděni tā'na ne'e, the last part being sometimes varied to tadi nā nē, when repeated at the end of a verse. As my informant, himself an officiator at these services, was unfortunately obliged to leave immediately owing to his child's sickness, in order to arrive at his home, far away in the forest, before complete darkness set in, I had not an opportunity of writing down the invocation which accompanied his dance; it consisted of eight or ten four-line stanzas of a very simple character.
For three days before the dance the Kapuwā must make himself ceremonially pure by bathing daily, and by not entering a house. For three days after it there is the same restriction against entering houses. Apparently time is required, as in ordinary devil-ceremonies, for the divine afflatus to become dissipated, and while it lasts the possessed' person lives in a state of tabu. During his whole life the professional Kapuwā must specially avoid eating, under penalty of death inflicted by supernatural power, any part of certain animals which are unclean' to him. These are the Pig, Ura; the large Monkey, Wandură (Semnopithecus priamus); the Peafowl, Monară; the Shark, Mōrā; and a large river-fish called Magură.
This prohibition appears to have no connection with Hinduism, or the common Brown Monkey, Rilawā (Macacus pileatus), would be included, and also the Rat, as the vāhana of Gaņēsa, and the Turtle as representative of Vishnu; or some of these. I have already referred to the significance of the inclusion of the Shark. The Pig must appear in the list for the same reason, that is, as an eater of dead bodies, which might be those of human beings. The Magurā is probably added for a similar cause. The plumage of the Peafowl is generally thought to be auspicious, but I am not aware if this is the opinion of the Vaeddas. The primary feathers of the wing are always employed for feathering arrows, which it will be seen, by their use in the religious services, have something of a sacred character attached to them. I can offer no suggestion regarding the inclusion of the Wandurā, unless it be on account of its human appearance. I think it is clear that there is nothing totemistic in these prohibitions.
In the district of the Vaeddas, the following are all the hills on which are found the so-called ' Dancing Rocks' (natana gal), one on each hill, of which I could obtain information :Ömungala near Rūgama tank, Henannē-gala, Kokkā-gala, Dambara-gala, Unakiri-gala, Māwara-gala, and one near Diwulana tank.
It is among the north-western Kandian Sinhalese, however, that the ceremonies in honour of the God of the Rock, as he is there called, have survived, or have been developed, in the most complete manner. Yet it is evident that even there the cult has seen its best days. The dance is no longer an annual event at several of the rocks devoted to it; occasionally intervals of some years elapse between two celebrations, and in a few cases it has altogether fallen into disuse. This is said to have been caused by the death of the officiating priests, and the want of successors, and not through lack of support by those who provide the expenses.
In these districts, in all cases the dance, which is a very important part of the proceedings, and indispensable in the complete ceremony, takes place on a high precipitous projecting crag near the top of a prominent hill, or on the summit
of the hill if it is a single bare rock. These rocks commonly face towards the south, but not invariably; and I have stood on one that was on the northern end of a long hill (Dolukanda) which has a high vertical precipice on its top, facing due east, that might have been selected for the purpose, if desired. This fact is of some value as almost necessarily indicating the absence, from an early date, of any connection with sun or moon worship, at any rate with adoration of the rising sun, which is further emphasised by the performance of the ceremony on all the rocks at or after noon, and never in the early mornings. The occasional dances at night by the Vaeddas also prove that the cult is quite unconnected with sun worship.
The following is a nearly complete list of all the hills in the Kandian districts on which the Dancing Rocks are situated, together with the names of the dewālas at which the subsequent proceedings are carried on, and from which a procession accompanies the performer to the hill where the dance is to take place. An asterisk is prefixed to the names of those hills at which dancing has now ceased.
All but the last two are in the eastern part of the Kurunāēgala district.
The ceremony takes place in the months Aehala (JulyAugust), or Nikini (August-September), sometimes on a Monday, but generally and preferably on a Wednesday or Saturday, and never on a pōya day (the Buddhist Sabbath, which is kept at each quarter of the moon), but sometimes on the day following it. Wednesday and Saturday are specially devoted to demon ceremonies, and are the two most inauspicious days of the week, and as such are invariably avoided for beginning any journey or work.
The months in which the dance is performed are two in which the full force of the winds of the south-west monsoon is felt in this district, and the work of the dancing-priest is thus on some occasions excessively dangerous on such exposed sites, a few of which can be reached only by means of ladders. In one instance, at Aragama-kanda, it is stated that the dancer was blown clean away and never seen again; and that any dancer escapes unhurt is attributed to the protection afforded by the God.
For two days prior to the ceremony the dancer must not enter a dwelling-house, and he usually lodges at the dēwāla ; for three days after it he is subject to a similar ban. then bathes, anointing himself with lime-juice, and the restriction ends. He must never enter a house in which a birth has taken place, until a month has elapsed after the event— some say seven days only-nor a house in which a death has occurred until three months have passed, and then only after it has been cleaned and purified by having new cowdung plastered on the floors.
As long as he lives he must not drink any spirituous liquor, and he cannot, on pain of death, eat the flesh or eggs of Fowls, Kukulā-including any bird which bears this Sinhalese name. Thus, the prohibition applies to the Jacana, Diya-Kukulā (Hydrophasianus chirurgus); the Spur-fowl, Haban-Kukulā (Galloperdix bicalcaratus); and the Ground Cuckoo, EțiKukulā (Centrococcyx rufipennis). Included in the prohibition are also Pigs, Ūrā, among which is reckoned the Dugong,