Courtship & Marriage in Bastia
Courtship and Weddings
Galdori Courtship and Marriage
Among galdori, marriage is characterized by extremely elaborate and lengthy marriage contracts, which can cover financial arrangements, extramarital activities, divorce proceedings, and almost anything else both parties are willing to agree to in writing. Both arranged marriages and love marriages are permissible, and courting activities include attending concerts and other performances, taking drives in carriages (or airships) and taking tea or meals together. Since Bastians cannot legally sign contracts under the age of 20, no Bastian can have a marriage considered legal in Bastia before that age.
There are lengthy and time-consuming engagement and marriage rituals intended to prove that both parties are entering of the marriage of their own free will (including ritual temple baths, which must be conducted separately). Historically, the weddings themselves have taken place in temples to ensure that they are blessed by Hurte; however, young Bastians are increasingly deviating from such traditions, although being able to do so is contingent upon finding an Archev willing to conduct a marriage ceremony outside of a temple. The only thing more elaborate than these rituals are the wedding costumes for both men and women; Bastians engage tailors often even before contract negotiations are finalized due to the stiff competition. Large floral (particularly rose) arrangements are also highly popular. Engagement proceedings tend to take at least a season, although contract negotiations can take considerably longer; marriage proceedings tend to take one season or even two season.
Courtship and Marriage in the Lower Races
Marriage is a fairly loose concept for Bastian wicks; like wicks in the neighboring country of Anaxas, most wicks tend to court whomever they like, regardless of age, affiliation or location. Virginity is not a prized commodity among wicks, and children born out of wedlock are common and without stigma; marriage is hardly a requirement for wick lovers, and therefore represents a fairly serious commitment for a wick.
For nomadic wicks, marriage is most common within one’s tribe. Cross-tribe marriages are permissible, but require one of the two wicks to leave their tribe and join their new partner’s tribe. Courtship tends to involve gift-giving to the family of one’s desired partner, and often involves the two wicks taking a long trip together by cart to ensure that they suit.
For nomadic wicks, wedding ceremonies are essentially a large party in which the two wicks’ families come together and jointly throw a party to celebrate the two lovers. The two who are to be wed clasp hands in front of the gathered audience and recite their own vows of love.
City-dwelling wicks have few restrictions on who they may wed, since they are without tribal affiliations. Weddings are relatively more common among this population, as it is possible for wicks to register their marriages with the government of Bastia, which confers certain legal benefits. Many wicks will then throw a party to celebrate their nuptials, and this - not the signing of paperwork in front of a galdori government testimone - is typically considered to be the true wedding.
Bastian humans, like wicks, tend to place relatively little value on marriage. This is particularly true among those living in more rural areas; city-dwelling humans are more likely to formally marry. Courtship, by whatever name, however, is quite common everywhere and often pursued for pleasure. While marriages exist for convenience and are sometimes arranged by the parents, courtship is free-form, unchaperoned and does not imply a commitment. Some parents discourage courtship without the intent to marry, but most humans do it anyway.
Weddings involve a human testimone (the name being rather informal, as only galdori can legally be a testimone) who witnesses the two couples agreeing to marry one another. In practice, the ceremony is simple - the testimone simply asks the two humans, one then the other, if they wish to marry the other person standing before them. A simple yes is sufficient for agreement, and the wedding is concluded. Parties are common to celebrate the marriage, whether a relatively simple village feast or a more elaborate city affair, and are traditionally held after sunset.
Both humans and wicks can gain some legal benefits from registering their marriage with the state, and can legally register a marriage within their races or across (but, of course, never to galdori). When a human or wick dies, their property naturally reverts to the state, unless a spouse or child who can legally prove their relation to the deceased claims it. There are also some legal risks; any burdens of debt also pass onto anyone claimed as a legal relation.
Divorce is legal in Bastia for all races, and relatively common compared to the other Kingdoms among galdori. Men can divorce their wives via secular means (subject to the terms of the marriage contract if applicable); women cannot divorce men via secular means, but can do so through a temple ritual known as lacrime di Hurte, or Hurte’s tears, which involves spending a full thirty hours in prayer at an altar to Hurte then begging the goddess for the end of one’s marriage (witnessed by a member of the Archevne, who can then certify the end of the marriage). Divorcees are still stigmatized, especially female divorcees, and usually the contracts for a second marriage are even longer and more elaborate than the first.
There are no established procedures for divorce among wicks, which is fairly rare given the seriousness of the undertaking. As such, in such cases the wicks often simply proclaim that they are no longer married; if there was actually a legal formalization of the marriage, it may or may not be possible for it to be dissolved.
Divorce is heavily stigmatized among humans, and almost never occurs. Similarly to wicks, some humans have secured legal divorces, but others have found it too difficult and time-consuming to bother.