Aloria has many rituals of binding partners. Some are drawn-out, formal affairs, while others are short and simple. Almost all are also bound to the various Religions of Aloria, and are done within the presence of holy men who seal the bond with the blessings of a god or many gods. Because of this, some forms of marriage are not accepted in various nations, and are seen as invalid or in conflict with the system of beliefs central to the functioning of the state. The most powerful state that sees hundreds if not thousands of marriages every day is the Regalian Empire. Below can be found a list of the different forms of marriage in several of the major, most populous Religions in Aloria. Religions not mentioned here are either Race-linked, as in a specific set of beliefs detailed on those specific Race pages which are not proper Religion articles, or are faiths very minor within the wider context of the world. Note: For information on any wedding ceremony missing from the list, be it racial or cultural, please contact the Lore Staff member HydraLana who will hopefully be able to answer your questions or make a MassiveCraft RP Discord Ticket.
Unionism: Sanktism of Harmony
For details on the way a Unionist marriage ceremony is conducted, please read the Sanktism of Harmony article.
Old Faiths: Lensøre/Ildøre
The Old Gods have one of the most freeform structures to their weddings, with services sometimes vastly different between towns in the same mountain valley mere miles apart. Despite the individuality that is at the core of this faith, which has allowed their adaption by multiple tribal groups, clans, and Cultures, there are shared commonalities present in all services. The first is the typical lack of a priest or religious figure to officiate the ceremony. Such figures are not uninvited, however their role is often minimal as they instead form up the wedding guests. Many come to witness the union and to shower their blessings and prayers onto the new couple to help them achieve good luck. Instead, it is the head of the groom’s family or the head of the community who officiates the wedding as having given their approval for it to have taken place. This approval is not required in the case of Velheim Hildrae or Kjaere, but only for those unions that feature Sol-Kvinnes or -Mards. Additionally, if a bond-person transitions into being Sol-Kvinne, it is the personal choice of the united pair on whether they should have an official wedding or not. The next consistent feature is that most of these weddings occur in the spring. Given the generally harsh winter climates that the Old Gods exist in, having weddings during such a cold time is generally seen as only possible in the most urban or populous communities. It also has religious connotations, as the spring and summer are times of life and rebirth and love versus the winter. Another consistent feature of Old Gods weddings is the presence of the Vidtide, an ode to love sung at the celebration. Sometimes, it is only the bride who sings it, other times, the couple sings it together and in a rare few cases, the entire wedding party proudly echoes the song to the heavens. The lyrics are roughly the same across the various Cultures who practice the ceremony despite each Language being different, but is important that the song be sung in the native Language of the individual meaning it comes from their cultural heart. Finally, there is always a celebration after an Old Gods wedding, whether it is a private celebration of just the couple and their immediate families or the entire communities, the unity of two people is to be celebrated. The Vidtide goes as follows:
- Come to me
- You can hear my soul call
- Standing alone, waiting for you
- Come into my arms
- Our realm awaits
- Our love will be joined
- Your eyes are smiling
- Your heart is beating-come you!
- Come you my beloved, come you to me
- All that we have will be intertwined
- Come you my beloved, come you to me
- All that we ever want will be found with each other
- Throw away a solitary fate
- Embrace togetherness for us
- Let me show you what happiness is
- Over the Frozen River we will walk
- Do not fight against the winds
- Do not fight against the fires
- It is obvious, I am your fate
- Come, come you with me to a world of joy
- Come you my beloved, come you to me
- All that we have will be intertwined
- Come you my beloved, come you to me
- We are needed by one another
The following list is a brief set of customs found in several major Cultures or groups within those Cultures:
- Anglian: Anglian ceremonies are generally more Unionist in style (which is to say formal) than other Old Gods marriage ceremonies. They often take place on holy ground of some description and see both parties in the marriage sing the Vidtide, trading off the lyrics until uniting to sing the final three lines. They also change the line about “Frozen River” into “Golden Fields.” There are also specific prayers are done to the new couple’s lands, hoping that they will be as fertile as the couple's marriage.
- Velheim: Velheim Old Gods marriage ceremonies have no specific location that they should take place. This variety of ceremony features the Vidtide sung three or four times by the bride while the groom cuts material in half, with each piece chopped through thought to represent one year of marriage. The material being cut through is often logs, but can also be ice blocks in more frigid climates. In other variations, both bride and groom sing the Vidtide together, or while the Vidtide is sung by the bride, the groom only listens. Most of these ceremonies also feature prayers and specific happenings related to one or two major gods believed in by both the groom and bride.
- Tarkkin: Tarkkin weddings are very important affairs in their society given how key marriage is to their history. They often have several marriages simultaneously, thus producing Vidtiding with several women singing all at once, and their prayers are focused on each of the four main Old Gods they worship. The celebrations afterward are lavish, involving the whole Clan in the festivities.
- Fridurfolk: The Fridurfolk are an extremely pious, peaceful folk and their wedding celebrations are evidence of that. They have their weddings before the local Tilbeiðslusteinn of most importance to the couple, with veneration and thanks given to the Veröldinandi who’s shrine it belongs to. There is also a lot of dancing held after the wedding, where the couple in question is the focal point, with “petals” of people surrounding them in rotating lines.
- Highland Cultures: The Highland variety of Old Gods weddings are almost identical to that of the Velheim in how open they are. However, like the Anglians, the Highlanders change the Vidtide to mention something of more cultural significance, that being "Rolling Moors" rather than "Frozen River".
Clothing for Old Gods marriage ceremonies is varied across the different Cultures and sects that participate in them. In general though, brides and grooms wear their best clothing, but also tight clothing that is close to the skin or as exposing as possible. After all, they are celebrating something that will ultimately end in the unification of their bodies so unless it is cold, exposed skin is seen to be a respectful gesture to the goddess of love, romance, etc. who have brought them together in that moment. Oddly enough, headgear is key to Old Gods marriages and are used to represent everything from the deity the bride or groom most relates to, to their regional background. Some of the headwear mentioned includes iron helms, driftwood crowns, antler crowns, wild flowers, woven ribbons, and veils of thin fabric.
Faith of Estel: Ajollen-Naderi
Oddly similar in how diverse the beliefs of the Old Gods function, the fragmentation of the Faith of Estel, due to the rise of so many Nelfin Races, has produced a wide variation in the ceremony of Ajollen-Naderi. There is also further separation due to the diverse array of Altalar Types. However, some things have not changed across different practioners. The ceremony traditionally begins at dawn, just as the first light of the day is slipping over the horizon. The bride and groom stand side by side, hand in hand, facing the rising sun. As the sun crests over the distant horizon, the pair turn to face each other, taking a step back and bowing. Each partner in turn says their vows, with the bride going first. These vows are always created by the individuals as a way to profess their love and commitments, and rarely are the same due to the personal nature of them. Common themes are promising to protect and love each other, providing for one another in bad times as well as good times, and promising commitment to one another. After the vows, the groom takes a small scoop, historically made of Silver (though bone, wood, shell, Steel or some other metal have been used), and ladles out some water from a fount, pool, or bowl (sometimes set out exclusively for the occasion). The groom offers it up to the bride, who takes a sip. The gesture is then repeated by the bride, who gives water to the groom. After this, the pair propose a prayer in unison and an offering to their Altalar Pantheon member of choice, or if married very young, the one they feel they are most likely to pick. The prayer, known as the Seranda, is as follows:
- Highest praise be unto you, dearest <Pantheon God 1> and <Pantheon God 2>, whose guidance teaches us lessons of the world
- May you grant us courage to stand by each other through all chapters of life
- May you grant us wisdom to value that which we already have beside ourselves
- May you grant us power to overcome any obstacle that presents itself
- And may you continue in us your lessons of calm and tranquility
- Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time
- Accepting hardship as a pathway to great things, and seeking to make the world a place for all <Race> to live in peace
At this point, the official for the ceremony enters the grove, traditionally dressed in the regal garb that corresponds for the Race. They carry the two bands, called the An’ollen, that were crafted for the couple who turn to face the official. It is here that there is a major difference between the Races: only the Cielothar, Yanar or those devoted to the pure and ancient variety of the Faith of Estel speak the Vanda’resslanja, which is most accurately translated as “Vow to the Faith”. The Vanda serves as as a pledge that the couple will remain true to Estel, and that they recognize that the world and all that exists within it was created by her will. The official here serves as a witness to the claim of the couple, ensuring that they have said all they need to. The Vanda’resslanja is as follows:
- We stand today not as two individuals, but as one who is made of more. Let our voices be heard and our hearts judged for their merit.
- We, faithful of Estel, do swear our faith, strength, and devotion to her teachings,
- To the belief that she, who is greater than all, shaped this world and all who live within it,
- We take an oath to the children of Estel, the Pantheon, from whom lessons and wisdom flow,
- That these lessons shall be passed on to our children, and our children’s children, until the day that we pass from this world,
- We take an oath that we will uphold the tenets of creation, for the good of creation, and by the will of Estel,
- For this, we share our lives, and for this, we stand today as one; bonded together, one heart, one soul, and one body.
If the presiding priest finds their Vanda to be satisfactory, which is nearly always the case, he says: “Your words speak the truth, for in them true enlightenment resides. Take pains to keep to your vows, for nothing is as lasting as Estel.” At this point, the two styles of marriage ceremony come together. If the couple is not of the pure and ancient Faith of Estel, they will have immediately proceeded to this phase. At this, the bride and groom hold up their right arms and the official takes the An’ollen, sliding one each onto the arms of the couple. The couple then turns to face each other and kiss, thus consolidating their bond and ending the ceremony. At this point, most modern Estellians hold some form of celebration, which often relates to the Race, Culture, and financial status of the couple. Below can be found a summary of the difference between the different Races in their practice of the Ajollen-Naderi.
- Altalar: Being the originators of the Ajollen-Naderi, the Altalar follow many of the beliefs previously expressed. They commonly have their weddings at shrines dedicated to the Altalar Pantheon, or ancient sites related to Estel. Their Anollen are most commonly metal bands, with Gold and Silver common though other metals, if these rich materials are offensive to the Altalar Type, also occur. Their wedding officiants must be a priest or priestess of the Altalar Pantheon or Estel, though if there is no one of that background present, the oldest Altalar willing can also perform the ceremony.
- Cielothar and Yanar: The Cielothar and Yanar follow many of the same traditions of the Altalar, though their An’ollen are not metal. They are often instead woven leather bands or beaded bracelets, with symbols of faith carved or pressed into them. Additionally, the ceremony occurs in a flowery or natural place away from the settlement so that Estel can fully and properly witness the event. Their wedding officiants must be a priest or priestess of Estel, though if there is no one of that background present, an aged Yanar may stand in given their connection to Estel.
- Avanthar: Avanthar beliefs are far more wild and decentralized when compared to those of their close relatives the Cielothar and Altalar. Avanthar get married at night under the stars that are their true gods, regardless of individual belief in another Religion, and shirk the traditional words of the Seranda and the Vanda’resslanja in favor of their own simpler pledge to fight for each other and the Avanthar way until death. Additionally, their Anollen are either matching tattoos on the same part of the body or leather bands, more complex and more extensively “Avanthar-ized” than those found in Cielothar communities. Their officiators are the group’s leadership or their chosen representative, their inclusion being a sign of approval at the match that will serve to improve the Avanthar bloodline. Also, rather than the water used during the ceremony, animal milk is used to represent their connection with their herding lifestyle.
- Sihndar: The Ajollen-Naderi of the Sihndar is possibly the simplest of all the subgroups of Nelfin. They have their ceremonies within the wall of their Xaster, in the main temple of the city. The union’s officiant is often the priest of this shrine and water is not used, as it is considered wasteful. Instead, each Sihndar gently blows into the face of their partner. The Sihndar also reject the use of the Serenda as a Allorn construct, but they do speak the Vanda’resslanja, adding this additional line at the end: “We take an oath to stand firm against the darkness, for we are the torch that keeps demonic evil at bay.” Post-ceremony celebrations often involve duels where the married couple engage in practice spars with various guests, and a little extra food is eaten, life returning to normal fairly quickly. The affair is also noted by a local bureaucrat, and the union bound in writing.
Historically, grooms partaking in the Ajollen-Naderi ceremony wear whatever is deemed as dress clothing for the males of the society. Altalar will wear white, loose, flowing robes of silk or cashmere, which is often decorated with jewelry to express the groom’s wealth. These robes are dyed white to better reflect the light of dawn, and are intended to show the groom’s respect for Estel’s purity and greatness. Along with this, they traditionally wear simple, white slippers. Among the Cielothar, the robes are made of simpler materials, and are frequently decorated with vibrant flowers such as Lady’s Shine or Ruby Flower; intended to breathe new life and color into the costume, just as Estel breathed life into the world. Avanthar favor their traditional leather harnesses accompanied by a special cape that is reserved for Ajollen-Naderi ceremonies. The cape is made by hand, and consists of hundreds of black and Silver beads and strings that create beautiful tapestries that are intended to replicate the brilliance of the night sky, with Silver flecks shining out from a sea of inky blackness. This cape is kept in special care and only worn during Ajollen-Naderi, during which the moonlight glimmers off the cape as the groom performs the ceremony. These garments are often passed down from generation to generation within a family, and hold tremendous value to the males of a clan. Finally, the Sihndar favor their armor as they hold true to their zealous cause and every component of their ceremonies is austere and militaristic with little decoration.
The bride’s ensemble during the ceremony of Ajollen-Naderi is also based upon the culture that is celebrating the bonding. Altalar tend to wear bright, single tone colors in their dress; often pale blue, pink, or yellow. The theme has always been to match the colors of dawn, since it is believed to be a sacred time where new beginnings occur. The dresses are handmade in different styles and materials, and as such they often match the individual who is getting married. Altalar brides also frequently wear Silver tiaras, decorated with various gemstones, as well as a wide variety of necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and rings all crafted of Silver. Cielothar brides often wear equally brightly colored dresses to the Altalar, with the exception that they include multiple colors. Popular combinations are rose and yellow, periwinkle and cyan, and mint and rose. Their dresses also include colorful beads and feathers foraged from birds nests, which are weaved into the fabric to make intricate designs. Avanthar women tend to dress incredibly simply, wearing their standard clothing of light fabrics and leather harnesses with the occasional bone jewelry. Some more free-spirited Avanthar will wear a crown of weaved flowers, but this is uncommon. Finally, Sihndar women traditionally partake in Ajollen-Naderi wearing their armor, accompanied by a pale lavender sash of fabric worn over the right shoulder. This sash is communal, and is routinely decorated by each couple who is bonded; adding their own mark.
- Religious-based weddings are not binding within the Regalian Empire, not even Unionist ones. A couple who marry within the Regalian Empire also must get the State (ie. the legal courts) to agree to it. Those Races with more limited rights might find it very difficult to be officially married in the eyes of the Regalian Empire.
- Same-sex marriages are capable of being performed in all three ceremonies discussed above, though it is sometimes difficult to be done. Some Unionist sects and their priests reject allowing it, and some Altalar and Sihndar dislike it on the basis that it reduces the number of future Altalar and Sihndar into the world. However, traveling to other areas or finding more accepting individuals to perform the ceremony is always possible.