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Religious Practices of the Diegueño Indians, by T.T. Waterman, [1910], at


At the appointed time word is sent to the neighboring villages and families, and a large assembly drawn together. According to invariable custom, both for this and kindred ceremonies, the head of the family passes over the management of everything to a friend or visitor. Both he and his family carefully refrain from even tasting any of the food gathered for the festival.

The first night is passed by the relatives of the deceased in wailing. On the following night a great fire is built and all the people, men and women, dance around it, circling alternately in each direction. The man who has charge of proceedings, assisted by one or two others, carries the dead person's clothes. The songs sung at this time are the regular songs of the Fire dance. 76 At the close of each song all the dancers together make

p. 307

the deep grunting sound: "mwau—u," and motion upward in the air. At the completion of three or four songs, all pause and face toward the fire, repeating the grunting sound three times. Then the sound is repeated once more, and all the clothes are thrown at the same time on the fire. While the garments, together with numerous baskets and other property, burn, they sing this song:

menai dispa tcawai tcawi
menai dispa tcawai tcawi
xitol kawak enyak awik
amai amut

now dead I-begin-to-sing 77
now dead I-begin-to-sing
North, South, East, West
up, down

Following this they dance several times around the fire, singing Fire songs, then throw on more clothes and sing:

mawi-a! mawi-a!
moyo-o! mawi-a!

what-fore ah! what-for? ah!
you-dead, oh! what-for? ah!

Anyone of the strangers who wants a little money takes a long stick and turns over the clothes so they will burn better. The relatives of the dead person then come around and give him small jars, baskets, and other "little things."

When the clothes are completely burned they sing as follows:

apamsi penoxi inyoxo

The rites are completed by dancing the fire out, singing meanwhile the songs which belong to that ceremony. 78


306:76 The account of which see below.

307:77 Part of the myth which tells of the origin of the ceremony is as follows: "The first man who performed the ceremony reached his hand to the North and brought a red rock, from the East a gleaming white rock, from the South a green rock, and from the West a black rock because the sun sets there. Then he blew in all four directions and sang, 'My father and grandfather are dead, so now I sing.'" The remainder of the narrative concerning the origin of the ceremony could not be obtained.

307:78 See below, the account of the Fire ceremony. The Luiseño Clothes-Burning is described in present series, VIII, 180, 226.

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