National Geographic : 1905 Dec
THE PARSEE sees claim that there is no reason for it, and none seems to be found. It is a striking example of a custom being con tinued after the reason has ceased to exist or at least has been forgotten. Another odd custom in vogue among the Parsees is that the name of the father is given to the son as a surname. For instance, if a Parsee of the name of " Framjee Dossabhoy ' had a son whose name was Maneckjee, his full name would be "ManeckjeeFramjee." When again his son had a son whose name was Jehanjir, his full name would be "Je hanjir Maneckjee." The grandfather's name is dropped entirely within three generations. Sometimes the name of a distinguished ancestor is added after the father's name, but this is not even continued for more than a few generations. This practice has a tendency to destroy the family unit and lessen its influence and mag nify the caste or tribe. While the general voice of the Parsee community seems to be unfavorable to the admission of aliens to the Zoroas trian faith, and the trustees of the prin cipal Fire Temple in Bombay have pro hibited such persons from entering its sacred precincts, nevertheless prose lytism to the religion does occasionally occur. Parsee priests are to be found whose objections can be overcome and who will permit the sacred precincts of the Fire Temple, over which they pre side, to be invaded by alien converts to the Parsee faith. MARRIAGE CEREMONIES The Parsees, owing to their coming in contact with the Hindoos, adopted a number of their customs, among which was unfortunately included the practice of infant marriage. Hindoos are most strictly enjoined by their "Shastras" to have their girls married before they have reached the age of nine years. Great disgrace is attached to the parents on their failure to do so. The Parsees S OF INDIA 543 seemed to have participated in this idea, and consequently practiced, until within recent years, infant marriage of their daughters. This custom is now no 1 nger followed by the Parsees in Bom bay, but instances of the kind, we are informed, may still occur in some out of-the-way place in Guzerat, where the A Parsee School Girl in Regulation Dress light of a higher civilization has not yet dawned. The most sensible persons among them have always disapproved of the absurd custom, and it may be stated that the practice of infant mar riage among the Parsees is now a custom of the past. Marriages are generally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties.