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Marriage and Weddings

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Marriage

Marriage at the royal level is considered a bond between a man and a woman. Royal marriages are representative of political duality and equality: there are two types of humans, and each is equal before the law. This was a promise made when humans first came to the world--and it was one of the few reasons the indigenous beings accepted humans as sentient, given their many drawbacks. Thus heads of state may be a single man or single woman, but there will never be two kings or two queens, as this symbolically shuns the other gender.

So kings and queens (and other marriages when there is property at stake) can be between relative strangers, and other arrangements recognized by everyone as emotionally binding; for legal purposes, marriage means one man and one woman.

For everyone below the level of kings there are all kinds of marriages and partnerships, depending on the country.

There have been instances where at the highest level a queen has a husband who is not the king, and the reverse. They use those terms, king and husband, to differentiate the men in question, and everyone understands them--but there is much negotiation beforehand on what the husband's powers are and are not. This type of arrangement makes the husband (or wife, when the reverse was true) first target if there is trouble, so very few have resorted to it. Also, if either of a royal pair is mated with one of his or her own gender, again the term for the mate will vary (sometimes will be husband for a king who is his mate, or a wife for a queen) but as above, there is much negotiation beforehand, outlining the prerogatives of the mate, and the husband cannot be a second king, nor the wife a second queen.

Marriage at the political level may be a matter of political duality and equality first, property and treaty second, but it is also a matter of family continuity . Family continuity is extremely important at all levels. (Though even this is negotiable: for example, if someone exhibits the traits known to a specific family, and ancestors can be traced back to that family, they tend to be regarded as a member of that family, whatever their name currently is. Thus, family continuity is usually a matter of family loyalty--a fraught subject at the level of nobles and kings.)

That is not to say that love matches are not unknown, whatever the lovers' social level. Kings and queens, if granted the freedom of choice, would far rather have a love match as a life partner than someone forced on them by treaty.

Love matches, that is, ring matches, are made between people who intend to commit to one another for life. In these weddings the vows have an added component to treaty marriages (which will include vows like “your people will be my people”) in which there is an exchange of rings that are regarded as physical signs of their promises of commitment. (Exactly how that commitment is defined can vary, but mostly it's an emotional commitment.) In the sexual etiquette of most countries that means you don't first approach someone wearing a ring. (In Colend, as usual, even this matter is complicated and there is much internal social coding.)

Weddings

Weddings on this world vary in type, especially at the state level. To generalize, weddings in the south follow the 'Sartoran' pattern--the couple dress in white and green, colors of spring and light and new growth--and make their vows to one another, often with an older couple to speak the responses, sometimes with an agreed-on authority figure--but the specifics depend upon what type of marriage is taking place.

It is the witnesses who make the marriage binding: there are very few instances of wedding certificates; however, in state matters there can be wedding treaties. There are, however, in most countries, central records wherein births, deaths, and marriages are recorded. Many kingdoms require these books to be kept, and they are duplicated in a central archive usually under the responsibility of Heralds or Scribes. The books are not just for social and familiar records, but are used for tax and planning purposes.

Weddings are always made before others, whether family, community, or nobles and diplomats, etc, in the case of marriages of state. There is no such thing as a secret marriage--though marrying in one kingdom and traveling to another without telling anyone in the new kingdom about the marriage has happened. Usually with untoward results, if matters of state are involved.

The fashion nowadays is for the couple to wear green and white—green for spring, beginnings, new growth, etc. But marriages of state will frequently include wearing either royal or house colors.

So, for an example, in Remalna: Meliara Astiar was not a princess beforehand--that is, though she was known to be a descendant of the royal Calahanras family, the title had stopped before her mother's birth, by treaty with the Merindars. So she and Vidanric Renselaeus both wore Remalna’s colors to emphasize their equality in rank, and their loyalty to the kingdom, not to either's lands or family. Their children took the Renselaeus name for family continuity, but are known to be descended from the Calahanras family, as treaty had stipulated that the Calahanras descendents could no longer inherit.

The actual vows are simple--even the ring vows--but the state weddings can take a very long time because of all nobles who hold--or own--land coming forth and speaking vows of allegiance to the kingdom, accepting the rule of king and queen as symbol for the land, and of course they both have to make the ritual replies, over and over. Very long and tiring, but considered to be legally binding.

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Page last modified on May 10, 2013, at 03:07 PM