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Martin

Marriage Ceremonies

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Has anyone written any notes or have any thoughts on what the ceremonies for each of the Orlanthi marriage styles look like

...what do people wear?...

what happens?

what sacrifices are made? 

what do they eat ?

Edited by Martin
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I'd imagine that it may vary slightly from region to region I think a few pages on cult ceremonies; weddings, funeral rites, initiation etc would be a really useful addition to upcoming Gods book.

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48 minutes ago, Martin said:

Has anyone written any notes or have any thoughts on what the ceremonies for each of the Orlanthi marriage styles look like

...what do people wear?...

Their best personal clothes, augmented (or replaced by) family heirlooms or special gifts.

Quote

what happens?

The only wedding rites described anywhere that come to my mind right now are in the final episode of Biturian's travel, but those are highly unusual since the wedding takes place away from his folk (although, by happy accident, Norayeep's non-Orlanthi kin are present).

Parents, household members and clan leaders will lead the person leaving the clan to the future marriage partner, with a similar contingent ready to receive the new family member.

A token act of unification will follow - tying hands, sharing a cloak, or (especially at ritual marriages) sharing marital bedding, possibly before witnesses or even in public.

Quote

what sacrifices are made? 

Pretty much standard - bull and cow of special color, etc. Beverages and other stuff for consumption may be dedicated first, too.

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what do they eat ?

The sacrificial meat and grains etc., after the divine portion was taken out.

 

Weddings other than the most temporary ones ("bed wife") are more or less always "matters of state", cementing inter-clan relationships, and occasions where two clans and probably tribal functionaries (as witnesses and prestigious guests) meet, even if the happy couple (or couples) happen to be of lowly cottar status. If the clan is one that regularly receives brides (or grooms), it will be an occasion for people who married out of the hosting clan to see their parents and at least some of their siblings again. Whether that occasion is joyous depends on your story needs.

High status and/or ritual weddings may even be more involved, and might have portions happening on the Other Side.

Edited by Joerg
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16 hours ago, Martin said:

Has anyone written any notes or have any thoughts on what the ceremonies for each of the Orlanthi marriage styles look like

...what do people wear?...

what happens?

what sacrifices are made? 

what do they eat ?

I can't say specifically about Orlanthi, but did writeup customs for Imtherian marriages years ago.  I actually ran a whole marriage ceremony (including the gift-giving in advance) - the mystery was trying to discovery who the Trickster was.

Imtherian Marriage Customs:

Local villages come together during Fire Season for several purposes, including socializing, rituals to invoke the power of Khelmal (which require groups of disparate people to get together for common aid), and introducing young people from the different villages.

Marriages are arranged by the parents, though often youthful appeal plays a part (at least in getting the child to state her/his preference to their parents).  About 95% of all marriages are between people of differing villages--marriage within the village is frowned on and considered bad luck (several stories point this out--the marriage of Khalana and Basmal is a mythic point; the marriage of Delea and Voshon is a common folk tale).

Marriages are arranged usually to occur in Storm Season (it's considered best luck to come together at that time) or Earth Season (for those in a rush the time of good harvest is considered well-omened).  Dark Season marriages are bad luck and ill-omened (the mythic marriage of Queen Balurga whose husband was then sacrificed is the classic example).

To seal the marriage, the parents exchange cheeses (always brought along for these festivals if they have marriageable children).  Once each season thereafter, until the marriage, the prospective groom and bride send gifts to each other.  These are expected to be tokens of their coming love and are usually common crafted gifts (woodcarvings, musical instruments, necklaces, or foodstuffs like cheese or casks of cider).  The gifts are always taken to the other through someone not of the family (the prospective bride and groom try to avoid having a Trickster or Keeper of Dire Secrets bring these, however, since the former love to substitute other gifts and the latter always add their own prophetic gifts).

During the period between arrangement and marriage, the prospective groom must prepare a new hearth for himself and his bride.  This may be as simple as digging a new fire pit in his parent's dwelling or as complex as building his own dwelling including the fire pit.  The fire pit/hearth always includes a hearth gift made to Ralaska to bless the marriage to come.  If his parents are dead and he has possession of their former dwelling, then he must rebuild the hearth by removing his parent's hearth gift and replacing it with one of his own.

When the day of marriage is at hand, the bride's parents assemble gifts for the groom, the groom's parents, and the groom's village.  For the latter, a barrel of cider is customary, but could be apples, cheeses, a boar for roasting, etc.  When the gifts are ready, the bride is placed upon the cart and with Lokarma's blessing for a gentle trip, the bride travels to her new village.

The bride departs from her home upon the bridal cart, which contains the bridal gifts, the bride's personal dowry, and decorations of seasonal flowers or branches.  Any animals that are part of the dowry trail behind the cart.  The bride's personal dowry usually consists of assorted goods for her new kitchen: a bronze or copper soup pot; earthenware bowls and mugs; spoons (commonly wooden--bronze or copper if the family can afford them); a bronze ladle; a candle holder (or an oil lamp if possible); carvings of Nealda (for fertility), Imthus and Aidea (for good health and marriage), and Ralaska (for a warm hearth); a covered brazier containing a hot coal from her parent's hearth; and assorted pins and braid ornaments (richer farmwives might also have passed on rings, necklaces, armrings, or earrings to their daughters).

As for the decorations, for Storm Season marriages, villagers make wreaths of Ryar’s Boughs--enduring branches of the stately fir tree. For Earth Season marriages, villagers use wreaths of Aidea's Stars, the vivid white three-petal flower which blooms three times a year.  The rarer, but joyous, Fire Season marriages use a mixture of flowers, usually including Aidea's Stars, Cat's Eyes (a fine yellow flower with a brown center), Dendara's Hair (whose yellow flowers amidst willowy leaves give the effect of finely decorated hair), or Yelem's Mantle (a large petal yellow-orange flower).

The bride is accompanied by her parents, siblings, other relatives, close friends, and a village representative to the new village.  All of these, but two (one chosen to be the cart driver), must walk beside the cart.  If a Khalana healer is in the party, (s)he may also sit in the cart and play upon her ousa. Otherwise, the bride's best friend sits in the cart with her and helps her braid her hair.

When the bridal party has reached their destination, they are greeted by the headman of the groom's village or his representative.  The headman leads the party to the town circle and ritually welcomes the bride into the village.  He usually repeats the a formal greeting while young children holding hands dance around the cart.

The bride responds by tossing a garland or wreath from the cart to the dancing children.  Whoever catches the wreath is supposed to always have good luck henceforth upon that day of the year.  The headman assists the bride to descend from the cart and leads her (with her relatives and assorted local children trailing behind) to the groom's home.  The gift of the bride's parents is then made to the groom's parents.  When the groom's parents have accepted the gift, they present their son, the groom to the bridal party and pronounce their own greeting.

(Note: the post-marriage feast typically takes place upon a raised platform or stage within the village hall or on the village common.  This is supposed to bring the party closer symbolically to Arahar and Teliska who made the first marriage.)

Once the presentation of the bride and groom is complete, the village headman leads the entire party to the local shrine (this may be a common shrine to all deities or one devoted solely to Imthus and Aidea).  There the priest and priestess of Imthus and Aidea (or in rarer cases those of Arahar and Teliska or Khelmal and Nealda) bless the union and pronounce the marriage vows.  The priest and priestess light two candles and place them upon the ground.  The new couple must dance around the candles hand-in-hand ten times for good luck (five times one way and then five times the reverse). 

Note: it is a bad omen to knock a candle over; to have a candle go out is very bad luck--one of the partners is sure to die young.

The priest and priestess then join the new couple in a second dance to link the new marriage to all past marriages in a continuum from Arahar and Teliska to the present.

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A ritual year-marriage is the focus of the Garhound adventure in Sun County.

Note that Orlanth wins Ernalda by promises and contests, and even if completely ritualized, this ought to be the pattern. Usually the opposition is perfunctory and symbolic, not real, but there should be always a space for a rival suitor to cause trouble.

The husband impresses the bride and the bride chooses their favorite. This acknowledges both roles.

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59 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

A ritual year-marriage is the focus of the Garhound adventure in Sun County.

Note that Orlanth wins Ernalda by promises and contests, and even if completely ritualized, this ought to be the pattern. Usually the opposition is perfunctory and symbolic, not real, but there should be always a space for a rival suitor to cause trouble.

The husband impresses the bride and the bride chooses their favorite. This acknowledges both roles.

I ran a variation of this in my Orlmarth HQ campaign as part of the Harvest celebration.  The suitors/contestants were the Barley Men, and the winner was declared the Barley King by the Harvest Queen (who bears witness to the two-day event).  Celebration of the Barley King's victory (lots of ale) preceded the marriage where the Barley Men then carry the Barley King to Orane's Loom.  The Harvest Queen then emerges from the earth shrine there, and they are ceremonially united by the Clan Chieftain and the Earth Priestess.  

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Orlanth steals the Sandals of Darkness as a courtship gift for Ernalda, so in my Glorantha, a pair of slippers or sandals is a traditional courtship gift. (And in fact, in early Germanic culture, slippers were given during the engagement ceremony, which was actually the binding moment of the marriage).

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On 6/12/2018 at 4:58 AM, Joerg said:

the final episode of Biturian's travel, but those are highly unusual since the wedding takes place away from his folk

Love this reference. Also since he's an Issarite there may not even be a set marriage ceremony within his people . . . some traders marry traders, some marry strangers, some pair up like the Orlanthites. It doesn't seem to matter.

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