Folk-Lore Jour.


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Immediately after the birth of the twins, messengers are sent out, to call together all the members of the tribe. Then everyone has to appear, from the oldest man down to the youngest child, even if they live ever so far away; and if the former, as well as the latter, should have to be carried. And not the people only, but also all the cattle, large and small, must come to the village where the epaha has been born. He who does not appear will be bewitched (ma huhua), and must on this account die. Should the tribe be large, one can see, upon this occasion, the field covered, perhaps for hours of distance, with oxen and sheep. . . . Then each one who is present, from the eldest to the youngest, comes forward, in order to be consecrated. . . . Persons of the male sex are consecrated by the father, those of the female sex by the mother of the twins. This is done by their taking between the tips of the fingers a little of the powdered root of the omundyoze tree . . . and rubbing with it the one to be consecrated. . . .

During the following days, the epaha goes round the werft in procession, visiting two or three houses each day; where exactly the same takes place as on the first day of its return to the village. They sit down at the right side of the house, and again, at each single house! all who are at the werft gather together, each time bringing the above-mentioned offerings, each time, being again consecrated; each time a head of cattle is strangled, from which a forequarter is again boiled, and makera’d, and the remaining meat carried to the house of the epaha. When, finally, meat becomes too plentiful, the man says, "There is meat enough; bring me now living cattle"; which he then adds to his flock. . . .

After these ceremonies have come to an end in their own village, and among those belonging to his oruzo [tribe of the father], the epaha goes round the country. . . . Should the father be a bold or impudent man (ependa),he passes no village, even should it belong to a strange tribe and to him be quite unknown. At every village which he visits, quite the same ceremonies as those described above are repeated. No chief will dare to send him away, as this would cause his death. . . . Such a procession [about the country] sometimes lasts more than a year; and, as the epaha chiefly allows itself to be presented only with livestock, it usually comes back rich.1

1Dannert, E.n/an/an/an/an/a, "The Customs and Ceremonies of the Ovaherero at the Birth of Twins," , 2: 109–113.


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Chicago: "Folk-Lore Jour.," Folk-Lore Jour. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: . "Folk-Lore Jour." Folk-Lore Jour., Vol. 2, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: , 'Folk-Lore Jour.' in Folk-Lore Jour.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from