Novie, a bride, has to face questions from family members on her relationship with her new husband a day after their wedding — questions such as when she started dating him or how many boyfriend she had before finding her true love.
In the Kadek family of Banjar Taman Yangbatu, Denpasar, the bride or groom will face such questions in a tradition called Megesah. The tradition is to familiarize a groom or a bride with his/her new partner’s family members and their neighbors.
No one knows when the tradition started, but according to Pak Tu, a pecalang (traditional guard), Megesah is a tradition that dates back to the 1940s, since the establishment of Rukun Pemuda Taman (RPT), or neighborhood youth group.
The youth group teases the newly wedded couple as a symbol for challenges and temptations that they will face in the future.
Usually, the brides seem uncomfortable as the RPT members often raise questions about sex, their past love lives or their reasons to get married. Family members only laugh when see the brides' reactions.
Despite the sensitive questions, most RPT “interviewers” deliver them with humor to help the new couple adapt with their new environment. They will then invite the couple to enjoy coffee, Balinese snacks and cigarettes (for the groom).
The coffee, though, is not regular black coffee as the youths usually add shrimp paste or sliced chili as a prank on the new couple. This also symbolizes the tests that they will face in the future. [yan]