The Mandans, a Dakota tribe, each year celebrate as their principal festival the Buffalo Dance, a feast which marks the return of the buffalo-hunting season. Eight men wearing buffalo-skins on their backs, and painted black, red, or white, imitate the actions of buffaloes. Each of them holds a rattle in his right hand and a slender rod six feet long in his left, and carries a bunch of green willow boughs on his back. The ceremony is held at the season of the year when the willow is in full leaf. The dancers take up their positions at four different points of a canoe to represent the four cardinal points of the compass. Two men dressed as grizzly bears stand beside the canoe, growling and threatening to spring upon any one who interferes with the ceremony. The bystanders throw them pieces of food, which are at once pounced upon by two other men, and carried off by them to the prairie. During the ceremony the old men of the tribe beat upon sacks, chanting prayers for the success of the buffalo-hunt. On the fourth day a man enters the camp in the guise of an evil spirit, and is driven from the vicinity with stones and cursehe elucidation of this ceremony may perhaps be as follows: From some one of the four points of the compass the buffalo must come; therefore all are requested to send goodly supplies. The men dressed as bears symbolize the wild beasts which might deflect the progress of the herds of buffalo toward the territory of the tribe, and therefore must be placated. The demon who visits the camp after the ceremony is, of course, famine.