Tribal Weddings, Old & New
Author: Dame Jeyde Thunderwalker, put up by Sir Iawen Penn
Date: January 29th, 1011 M.R.
The Old Tribal Wedding
The tribal wedding ceremony is a beautiful event, whether it is old fashioned, or 'ancient' ceremony, or a modern one. The original ceremony differed from clan to clan, tribe to tribe, and community to community, but basically used the same ritual elements.
Because clanship tends to be matrilineal in the tribal society, it is forbidden to marry within one's own direct clan. Because the woman holds the family clan, she is represented at the ceremony by both her mother (or clan mother) and oldest brother. The brother stands with her as his vow to take responsibility of teaching the children in spiritual and religious matters, as that is the traditional role of the 'uncle' (e-du-tsi). In ancient times, they would meet at the center of the plains, and the groom would give the bride a ham of venison or bison while she gave an ear of corn to him, then the wedding party danced and feasted for hours on end. The groom's gift symbolized his intention to keep meat in the household and her corn symbolized her willing to be a good wife. The groom is accompanied by his mother.
After the sacred spot for the ceremony has been blessed for seven consecutive days, it is time for the ceremony. The bride and groom approach the sacred fire, and are blessed by the priest and/or priestess. All participants of the wedding, including guests are also blessed. Songs are sung in the tongue of the Plains, and those conducting the ceremony bless the couple. Both the bride and the groom are covered in a blue blanket. At the right point in the ceremony, the priest or priestess removes each blanket, and covers the couple together with one white blanket, indicating the beginning of their new life together.
Instead of exchanging rings, in the old times the couple exchanged food. The groom brought ham of venison or bison, or some other meat, to indicate his intention to provide for the household. The bride provided corn, or bean bread to symbolize her willingness to care for and provide nourishment for her household. This is interesting when noting that when a baby is born, the traditional question is, "Is it a bow or a sifter?" Even at birth, the male is associated with hunting and providing, and the female with nourishing and giving life. The gifts of meat and corn also honor the fact that traditionally, men from the Plains hunted for the household, while women tended the land.
The couple drank together from a Wedding Vase, called a Cha'hel (CHA-hill). This vessel holds one drink, but has two openings for the couple to drink from at the same time. Following the ceremony, the tribe, community or clans provided yet another wedding feast, and the dancing and celebrating often times continued many nights.
In closing, this was a standard 'braid' or a wedding prayer spoken:
Now you will feel no rain
for each of you is shelter for the other
Now there is no loneliness
Now you are two persons
but there is only one life before you
Go now to your dwelling to enter into the
days of your life together and may your days
be good and long upon the earth
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 01-29-11 01:17 AM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 01-29-11 01:18 AM