Customs Of Guiana In S. America
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
Those who wish to marry him present him with something to drink, and offer him some wood to kindle a fire near his hammock. If he refuses the offer, it is a token that he will have nothing to say to the lass; if he accepts it, the marriage is concluded, and the bride takes upon her to manage his household the next morning.
They have one custom peculiar to themselves. When the wife lies-in for the first time, the husband is obliged to keep his hammock, which is drawn up to the ridge of the house, and he is suffered to have no nourishment but a little cassava-wheat and some water. When they let him down, they cut him in several parts of his body with some sharp instrument, made either of the fin of a fish or the tooth of some animal; sometimes, also, they give him a sound whip-ping. Till this ceremony is performed upon the birth of the first child, the husband is the slave of his father-in-law; and as soon as it is over, he is obliged to enter into the service of some old Indian, and quit his wife for some months. During this time, he is not allowed to eat venison, pork, nor game of any kind ; neither is he allowed to cleave wood, under a notion that it may hurt the infant. This servitude is terminated by a great festival, at which the husband is again put into possession of his liberty and his wife.