The first day of the rest of your life

Terence Sin (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 00:01:26 -0500

The Kwoma of New Guinea practice a trial marriage followed by a ceremony
which makes the couple husband and wife. The girl lives for a while in
the boy's home. When the boy's mother is satisfied with the match and
know that her son is too, she waits for a day when he is away from the
house. Until this time, the girl has been cooking only for herself,
while the boy's food has been prepared by his women-folk. Now the
mother has the girl prepare his meal. The young man returns and begins
to eat his soup. As the first bowl is nearly finished, his mother tells
him that his betrothed cooked the meal, and his eating it means that he
is now married. At this news, the boy customarily rushes out of the
house, spits out the soup, and shouts, "Faugh! It tastes bad! It is
cooked terribly!" A ceremony then makes the marriage official.
- J. Whiting, Becoming a Kwoma.