Picture yourself in this situation: you're at a family gathering, getting bored with all the small talk and want to escape when you suddenly lock eyes with someone cute.
After imagining a whole future with them, with kids and all, you muster up all your courage to come up to them only to realize that they're actually your cousin, who's grown up a fair bit since you last saw him/her.
It would seem that many Indonesians find themselves in that situation every year during the Eid holiday, the one time of year many people get to see their extended families.
Basing such a hypothesis on a search trend is hardly scientific, but the topic of marriage between cousins has become a hotly debated one in Indonesia recently following a spike in popularity of the search query "menikah dengan sepupu", meaning "marrying a cousin", on Google during and after the Eid holiday last week.
The trend was noted by independent study group Objektiva Indonesia, which also spotted a trend of searches containing the above keywords spiking annually in the days following Eid from 2015 to 2019.
The graph shows that for this year's Eid, which fell on June 5 this year, the number of searches for the cousin query increased from June 2-8.
Interestingly, people from the city of Yogyakarta seem to be the most incest-curious, at least according to their search queries. Among the other most curious regions were East Kalimantan, Lampung, South Sulawesi, and South Kalimantan.
The viral topic, inevitably, has sparked discussion online among Indonesians about whether or not it's right to marry one's cousin.
Nenek kakek aku sepupuan, org jawa, trs menikah. Kalo kumpul yg keluarga besar bgt ada keluarga nenek sm keluarga kakek di satu tempat wkwkwkk. Alhamdulillah sih keluarga kami baik2 aja...... Kmrn dapet ini jg dr temen jd ya nikah sm sepupu kayanya legal2 aja sih pic.twitter.com/kTturDvEfS – han?? PO #yellowwood?? (@supearbis) June 7, 2019
My grandma and grandpa are cousins, they're Javanese, and got married. Whenever the extended families had gatherings, there were families from my grandma and grandpa at the same place wkwkwk (Note: this is a common Indonesian way to express their laugh in text, same thing like "haha"). Alhamdulillah (praise God) our family is alright. I got this from a friend recently, seems like marriage between cousins is legal.
11 april 2019, Katie Bouman dan bule2 lain berhasil mengambil foto bentuk black hole yg terletak di pusat galaksi Messier 87, berjarak kira-kira 53, 49 juta tahun dari bumi. 11 juni 2019, orang Indonesia masih ribut tentang bangunan dgn bentuk segitiga dan nikah sepupu. Well?? https://t.co/c5K8nMTQ4X – ???? (@imroatusshl) June 12, 2019
11 April 2019, Katie Bouman and other bules (white people) successfully captured the Black Hole that is located in the Messier 87 supergiant elliptical galaxy, approximately 53.49 million light years from earth.
11 June 2019, Indonesian people are still debating triangle-shaped buildings and marriage between cousins.
Related to the topic, there was also a significant increase in searches for "Hukum menikah dengan sepupu", meaning "laws on marriage with cousins", over the same periods.
Marriage between cousins arguably remains a grey area in Islamic law since it's not specifically prohibited, even in the Quran. In a video, Indonesian cleric Ustadz Khalid Basalamah argued that cousins are not mahram, or unmarriable kins, so marriage between them is probably allowed or halal.
Indonesia's Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, Article 8, specifies people who are forbidden to marry, among them parents and their children, siblings, grandparents and their grandchildren, and more. However, there's nothing about cousins being prohibited from marrying.
Genetically speaking, the practice is generally advised against due to the increased risk of cousins bearing children with birth defects.
Well, if the graphs above are anything to go by, those who are curious about their cousins will probably move on and forget about them soon. Until next year's Eid, of course.