califa, chalifahShow more Also califa, chalifah, kalifa, kalifer, khalifah, and with initial capital.
ArabicShow more Arabic khalīfah a caliph, the chief civil and religious leader in an Islamic society.
a.A Cape Muslim ceremony at which a sword-ritual is performed by worshippers while they are in a trance-like state. b. This sword-ritual; also called ratiep. Also attributive.
1856Cape Monitor 16 Jan. 3Several Malay priests have been examined..and it would seem from their evidence that the Califa is by no means part of the Mahomedan religion, and..ought only to be played on a certain night in each year.
1861Cape Monthly Mag. Dec. 356The most characteristic of their customs is the ‘Khalifa’, a religious ceremonial of the highest solemnity.
1862Lady Duff-GordonLett. from Cape (1925) 82English Christians were getting more like Malays, and had begun to hold ‘Kalifas’ at Simon’s Bay. These are festivals in which Mussulman fanatics run knives into their flesh, go into convulsions, etc., to the sound of music.
1884J.S. LittleS. Afr.: Sketch BkII. 407The Kalifas of the Malays are curious religious ceremonies...Half-a-dozen men play tambourines, and a dozen or more fanatics, stripped to the waist, dance about the room..incising themselves between their ribs with small short-pointed spears.
1900Diamond Fields Advertiser 31 May 2Khalifa Representation in aid of the fund for the relief of the sick and wounded in the Transvaal war.
1913H. TuckerOur Beautiful Peninsula 81More grim and startling to the spectator is the now almost abandoned practice known as the Khalifa, wherein the performers, after dancing into a frenzy to the music of tom-toms and chanting voices, gash themselves with knives and inflict other self-injuries.
1944I.D. Du PlessisCape Malays 37The Malay sword dance known as the Chalifah should really take place on the 11th day of Rabi-l-achier in honour of Abdul Kadir Beker, a follower of the prophet; but its original religious implications have been modified...The Chalifah now amounts to a skilful exhibition of sword play.
1950M. MassonBirds of Passage 142The pièce de résistance of the whole affair was a kalifa dance by two hundred Malays.
1953Du Plessis & LückhoffMalay Quarter 62During the previous century..there were many bands of Chalifah-players.
1965K. ThompsonRichard’s Way 32The Malay Khalifa was famous at the Cape. As a religious hypnotic dance it was famous with tourists and truly interesting among historians.
1970Cape Times 6 June (Weekend Mag.) 2The khalifa originated at the Cape, and is not an import from the mysterious East as many think.
1972Std Encycl. of Sn Afr.VII. 147The most spectacular custom of the Cape Malays is the performance of the Chalifah.
1989C. Chapman inEdgars Club Apr. 45These hypnotic rhythms are still heard in the Khalifa, a display of faith ritual.
1991Best of S. Afr. Short Stories (Reader’s Digest Assoc.) 217The strange rituals of the Khalifa (originally a religious ceremony), when swords and skewere pierce flesh, yet draw no blood and cause no pain.
2.The priest or leader conducting the Khalifa ceremony; a participant in the ceremony.
1861Cape Monthly Mag. inI.D. Du PlessisCape Malays (1947) 36During this time, the Khalifa, or schoolmaster, was divesting himself of his upper garments...He..took in each hand a peculiar sort of dagger..flung both his armed hands to their full height above his head, and then dashed them down, as if driving both daggers..through his stomach!
1953Du Plessis & LückhoffMalay Quarter 62The chief priest..is designated by the term Chalifah, which has now, through common usage, come to be applied to the performance itself.
1965K. ThompsonRichard’s Way 81The Khalifa himself, chief priest to-night, was moving now behind the ‘bank’.
1970Cape Times 6 June (Weekend Mag.) 2The ritual obtains its name from the khalifas or leaders of performing troupes who are chosen for their clean living, strong spiritual beliefs and dedication to the art of physical stoicism.
1985S. Afr. Panorama Jan. 22Kalifa is really the name of the leader who blesses the sword, leads the performance, and prays continuously while it is under way.
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