Monday, January 14, 2013


The early Spanish missionaries reported that the ancient Chamorros were very careful about their to'la, or spittle.

They would spit only when no one was looking, so that no one could see where their spittle landed.


As in many other cultures, our ancestors believed that a person's saliva could be used in some magical charm against him (or her).  If your enemy saw you spit, s/he could collect it later on when your back was turned.


...the only curse we fear connected with spitting is the curse of red stains all over the floor and walls, thanks to pugua' or betel nut.

Which leads me to wonder.

Did our ancestors spit the juices of their pugua'?  Or did they swallow it?

Since tobacco did not come around until the Spaniards came, and since it is only the addition of tobacco that makes swallowing pugua' juices unpalatable, I suspect our ancestors swallowed the juices of the pugua', pupulu and åfok.  But who knows?

Personally, I don't add tobacco and so I swallow the juices.  I mean, that's the point, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. I also swallow the juices along with everyone in my family that chews.