chapter  XIV
114 Pages

MARRIAGE AND ITS CEREMONIES

FEW peoples, if any, of those known to us, are without some marriage ceremony. As to those who are said to possess none, it will generally be found that there is some act performed which is too slight or too practical to be marked by an observer as a "ceremony," but which when analysed turns out to be a real marriage rite.1 Two common modes of marriage amongst the Arunta and other Central Australian tribes illustrate this, and also go to prove the correctness of the view here put forward, that marriage rites of union are essentially identical with love-charms,2 and that other marriage rites coincide with precautions taken to lessen the dangers of contact between the sexes, not only in ordinary life, but also at the critical stage of puberty. A man or woman in the Arunta tribe can charm a person of the other sex to love by making music with a bullroarer. If he or she soon comes to the musician, the marriage is thereby complete.3