Leisure Recreation and the Arts

All able-bodied adults work hard most of the year, though both men and women acknowledge that women tend to work harder due to their double work burden of being full-time farmers and carrying out the majority of child-rearing and domestic work. The original Beng calendar operates on a 6-day schedule, with one day designated a rest day, when work in the fields is forbidden. Many adults use the day to relax in the village or to perform craft or repair work (men strip vines to make string for yam plants, or repair thatched roofs; women replaster their house walls, repair broken jewelry, or tress one another's hair); others travel to nearby villages or towns to visit relatives or friends. Chiefs hold trials, and people consult with diviners and offer earth sacrifices via the Masters of the Earth.

Most evenings, there is an hour or two after dinner for relaxing around the courtyard. Villagers spend time with relatives, friends, or neighbors of their own or opposite sex—the groups are casual and evanescent, with much visiting back and forth between courtyards. The time may be passed recounting the day's events, gossiping, or telling stories, the latter always with children present.

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