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MEMOIR ON THE STUDY OF
everyday life. In the war dance the actions illustrate the method pursued in war, ending with an evolution which represented the successful warriors threading the heads of the slain on the rattan slings which always hung on their backs when they went out to fight.
Mrs. Murray-Aynsley in a paper on the secular and religious dances in Asia and Africa (Folk-lore Journal, vol. v. pp. 273, 274), describes an aboriginal dance which still takes place annually in certain villages in the Khassia and Jaintia hills. It generally takes place in May. The special reason of the dance is the display of all the unmarried girls from far and near to choose, or be chosen by, suitable parties, and from description it is probable that the girls choose. Many marriages result from this one annual dance. The dances take place in a circular enclosure which is set apart for this annual feast. The musicians sit in the centre, and the girls form a large circle round the musicians, and behind the girls, holding hands in a larger circle, the men dance and go through their part of the performance. The girls perform very quiet movements and dance slowly, while the men jig, leap, hop, and wave their arms, legs, umbrellas, and daos in the wildest confusion, accompanying their movements with the most savage war-whoops, signifying nothing. It is also usual for the men to dance when one of their tribe is buried.
In the Kulu district at Sultanpore is held the feast of Rugo-nath, the chief god, when the gods belonging to every village in the valley are bound to appear and pay him respect. There is feasting, and the men dance round and round the palanquins containing the inferior gods. When the excitement is at its height the temple attendants seize the palanquins and dance them up and down violently, and make the godlings salaam to each other and to Rugonath, the chief god.
In Spiti, a valley in the Western Himalayas, the people frequently dance for hours for their own amusement. Men and women dance together, all join hands and form a long line or circle. They commence by singing, then dance to the accompaniment of their own voices, and the fun speedily becomes fast and furious (ibid. p. 281).