By Julian Baldick
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Additional resources for Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World: From Australasia to Taiwan (Library of Ethnicity, Identity and Culture)
48 This ritual took place on the afternoon of the day in the meesi festival on which the repair of the paths, the ﬁrst entry into the common-house TAIWAN 31 and the skull-offering took place. While the elders gathered in the common-house the young males being initiated gathered in the open area before the entrance. ’ The other elders had the right to give instructions. In the end the young males left the common-house and were led to the houses of the various clans, where they spent a little time.
She could not come near weapons or hunting equipment, and was not allowed to kill insects or catch ﬁsh. After the birth she was not allowed to leave the house to work in the ﬁelds for ten days. 45 A few days after birth the new-born baby was washed in cold water. In the ﬁrst year of a boy’s life, at the end of the meesi festival (a condensed form, as we shall see, of the main part of the annual ritual cycle), he would be taken by his father, holding a bamboo cup full of beer in his free hand, to the common-house for the ﬁrst time.
The shamanesses have a great annual festival, lasting eight days, when they visit the ancestors. 76 Finally, we may note points made by Cauquelin concerning Puyuma culture, along with more data. Like other Taiwanese aboriginal groups, they are indifferent to the sea and the fact that Taiwan is an island. The 42 ANCIENT RELIGIONS OF THE AUSTRONESIAN WORLD Puyuma used to be a society of hunters, in which everything was shared. Before a hunting expedition a diviner would consult his bamboo splinters to nominate one hunter to take bird omens at dawn.