Friday, July 13, 2018

Curious Conjugal Etiquette

In parts of the Fiji Islands, a husband and wife, if they wished to meet, must meet in secret ; a similar secrecy is or was obligatory among the Circassians, and even among the Hottentots.
 
Above – 
Samuel Daniell’s “Korah Hottentots,” or “Korah-Khoikhoi dismantling their huts, preparing to move to new pastures.” aquatint by Samuel Daniell, 1805 (public domain image)
Old Matrimonial Etiquette and Customs 

Among primitive tribes, some very strange rules of etiquette appeared to govern the matrimonial relationship. Convention prevented the Yoruba wife from either speaking to, or even seeing her husband, if it could be avoided, and the Aleutian islanders had the same regulation about speaking. In parts of the Fiji Islands, a husband and wife, if they wished to meet, must meet in secret ; a similar secrecy is or was obligatory among the Circassians, and even among the Hottentots. But the African Kingdom of Futa bears off the palm in these respects, if an old traveler is to be credited, who assured us that wives there were so bashful as never to let their husbands see them without a veil for three years after their marriage.


The same sort of feeling was manifested in other curious customs. Among the Esquimaux, even in cases where the course of true love ran its smoothest and accorded fully with parental settlements, certain old women had to be sent to drag the bride forcibly to her husband's hut, she being obliged under the penalty of an ill name to “make as if it went against the grain and as if she were much ruffled at it.” A Kamschatkan girl, however well disposed she may have been to her future spouse, made it a point of honor to pretend to refuse him, and the form of force on his side and of resistance on hers, was in any case to be regularly performed. And the wild tribe, the Hos of India, regarded it as the correct thing for a wife to run away from her husband and to tell her friends that she neither loved him nor would ever see him again, while he in his turn was expected to display great anxiety for his lass and when he had found his wife, after diligent search, carried her home again by main force. – Gentleman's Magazine, 1888


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia