Curious Customs

IN some countries the people have customs

that would appear very curious and

strange to us.

If you should travel in some parts of

Asia you would be surprised to find 

the men wearing from two to fifteen caps

at the same time.  These caps are of different 

sorts,  some made of linen and some of

woolen, others of cotton and worn one

upon another, the outer one being richly

ornamented and having embroidered upon

it passages from the Koran or Mahomet an

Bible. Notwithstanding this extravagance

in dressing the head, they have but two

other garments, except the sandals, and one

of these serves as a bed at night, and the

other as a covering. Sometimes, however,

they sleep in a sack to protect them from

the attacks of troublesome insects.

The women stain their nails red, and

their feet and hands brown. They paint

their eyebrows and eyelashes black, and

keep all the lower part of the face covered

with a vail or with folds of linen. The men

also paint; or rather stain their arms, lips,

and other conspicuous parts of the body,

not white or delicate pink, but deep blue.

This they prick in with the point of a needle

so that it cannot be washed off. In this

way some make jet-black flowers upon the

cheeks or forehead.

The women wear a great many rings;

not only in their ears or on their fingers,

but also on their arms and in their noses.

Many of the rings worn in the nose are as

much as three inches in diameter. These

poor people think that by thus painting and

decorating their persons they render themselves

beautiful and attractive.

If you were to be invited to dinner

in that country, you would find yourself

obliged to get down to a tray set on the

ground, instead of drawing up to a nicely

spread table; and this too, not because of

the poverty of your host, but because it is

the fashion. Instead of sitting in a chair,

you would sit on a cushion laid upon the

ground. Instead of eating with a fork, you,

with all the rest, would have to help yourself

from the tray with your fingers. If you

should try to be polite and sociable, and

inquire after the health of the ladies of the

family, you would be thought guilty of an

insult, that might cost you your life. And

if you should praise any of the children, you

would be suspected of evil intentions.

Now, strange and foolish as these customs

appear to us, there is no doubt but

ours, would appear no less ridiculous to

them. And, on the whole, are not many

of OUR customs even more unnatural and 

inconsistent than theirs? How silly it is,

then, to follow the fashions as thousands of

thoughtless persons do, with such eagerness!

And how many of the young readers

are willing to become blind slaves to unnatural

 and  hurtful customs rather than be governed by

 good sense, the laws of our being, and a 

conscience enlightened

by the word of God?