Samjan Marriage Customs
Dintin Aug 19th, 2014 (edited) 312 Never
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- Samjan are considered of marriageable age at 16, for both men and women. A man's first marriage is arranged by his parents, subsequent marriages must be set up by the man himself. A woman may only marry once in her life, so their marriages are almost universally arranged. Bride and groom are socialized together from a young age, the idea being that if you lock a boy and a girl in a room for extended periods of time on a regular basis they'll eventually come to love, or at least lust after, one another.
- Shortly after a marriage agreement has been made the betrothal will take place. Large gifts of money and fine goods are collected by both the bride's family and the groom's family and carried to each other's home. They're typically of roughly equal value but if a family wishes to show off its wealth they may intentionally make their offering much larger than is customary. It is at this point that the bride takes her husband's last name, as even if the man she is betrothed to cannot marry her one of the family's other children will be made to. If a family has no other sons, they'll typically adopt a young man into their family.
- Closer to the marriage date, a priest is consulted to select a good day for the marriage. Usually they'll be picked based on lucky numbers, seasons, and occasionally the position of celestial bodies. Usually this is done one or two years before the youngest partner is of marriageable age. It's also important to note that, after this, the marriage is sealed. At any point before this time the marriage may be called off by either the bride or the groom's family, but after a date has been selected they must go through with it.
- At this point a lantern will be hung outside the doors of both the bride and the groom's house, the color indicating what they wish from the marriage. Red, for instance, signifies companionship. Blue would indicate strong children. Yellow would mean they wish for prosperity. This is done to roughly indicate what they want in terms of wedding gifts. One would buy lots of incense, fine silks, and exotic spices for someone who hangs a blue lantern. For yellow you'd just give them money, jewelry, clothes, that sort of thing. Red, you'd give them whatever is relevant to the bride and groom's shared interest. Books, illuminated cards, a pair of fine horses, weaponry, et cetera.
- Exactly one week before the wedding is to take place, a massive party is thrown for the bride, the groom, their families, and everyone they know. For nobles this will often mean hundreds of people gathered together to get drunk, eat good food, sing, dance, and cause mischief. For poorer folk a couple dozen is the norm, and everyone will chip in by bringing something they cooked themselves.
- On the morning of the wedding itself the bride and groom will be painted up and decorated in their respective homes. Writing is common, usually wishing the couple good health or fertility. Certain runes are also often used, as well as prayers and various intricate geometric designs. Flowers will be strung through the hair of the bride while the groom will have his hair shaved off. Finally they'll be dressed in traditional garb. For men, this means the family suit of armor and a ceremonial spear. For women, this means elaborate, flowing robes.
- The ceremony itself basically consist of a priest dedicated to whatever god the families agree on standing on a podium reciting a list of tips and tricks. Ways to not fuck up and things to look out for/do. It's essentially a two hour lecture on morality interspersed with some mantras and praying. When it's finally over the bride and groom kiss and then the groom will play fight a selected group of his friends or the bride's family using the ceremonial spear. In the olden days, this would've been an honest to god duel to the death against any men who would take his bride from him, though that particular tradition has fallen out of style.
- Gifts are exchanged between the bride and groom's family, again of more or less equal value unless someone is showing off. Then the husband and wife will receive gifts from their own families, their friends, friends of a friend, and so on. Another party is thrown with plenty of booze and food of which the new husband and wife are the guest of honor. Finally, after all that, they get bundled into a new house bought with the combined funds of both families to start their own household. Usually it's a smaller, somewhat crappy house so that the couple is encouraged to strive for better.
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