In Atchin it is believed, that evil spirits do not haunt the earth in this night :).
Babylonian New-Year was celebrated in spring, Tishri is an autummal month, the lailat al-kadr belongs to Ramadan, originally the month of summer draught3). Consequently in early Arabia summer was considered as a New-Year's period — which does not imply that other seasons have not been considered in that way, for at a time it was not one, but the season which marked a new beginning •s).
The lailat al-kadr has preserved a very peculiar character in various Muslim countries till the present day. "The gates of heaven being then opened, prayer is held to be certain of success. Salt water, it is said, suddenly becomes sweet on this night; and hence some devout persons, not knowing which of the last ten nights of Ramadan is the Leylet el-kadr, observe all those nights with great solemnity, and keep before them a vessel of salt water, which they occasionally taste to try if it become sweet, so that they may be certain of the night"4).
The belief that in the lailat al-kadr salt water becomes sweet, is also recorded by d'Ohsson: "... que tous les êtres inanimés y adorent Dieu; que toutes les eaux de la mer perdent leur salure et deviennent douces dans ces moments mystérieux"5). He makes mention of another curious belief regrardingf this night: "Les maris
O O O
ne se permettent pas de coucher avec leurs femmes, ni les patrons avec leurs esclaves, dans la crainte d'ayoir des enfans estropiés on défectueux; une opinion assez générale faisant regarder tous les enfans nés contrefaits comme congus dans 1'une des sept nuits saintes"6).
Further illumination on a large scale is practised in Constantinople 7). In Atchin peculiar lamps are lighted and people delight in crackers8); similar customs are also practised in the night before the first of Shawwal9).
1) Snouck Hurgronje, De Atjehers, I, 253.
2) Cf. Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidentiims2, p 94 sqq.
3) Cf. Acta Orientalia, II, 158 sqq.
4) Lane, Manners and Customs of the modern Egyftians (Paisley and London, 1899), p. 484 sq.
5) Tableau général de Vempire Ottoman, I, 260.
6) I, 261. 7) l.c.
8) Snouck Hurgronje, De Atjehers, I, 253.
9) Snouck Hurgronje, De Atjehers, I, 255.