Today, our roving reporter interviews a newly-wed Matis bridegroom, to gain some insight into the customs and ceremony that surround a Matis wedding.

Hi there, Viero, I understand that you were married a few weeks ago, and I would be very grateful if you could share your big day with our readers.

Yes, I would be happy to do that - but the first point to remember is for us Matis, getting married is as much a religious as a civil occasion and indeed, during the ceremony we affirm our commitment to Jena as well as to each other. It is not an event to be taken lightly or frivolously.

I understand, could you explain a little of the background please?

Because of the social, financial and economic implications of getting married, our courtship is a very formal and stylized affair, normally conducted in the presence of a chaperon. This formality surrounding our meetings allows the lady Homin to send someone to make an excuse if she does not wish to be seen or if she wishes to curtail the relationship. Of course my Gini never did this, but it does happen.

At this stage of courtship it is also common for the groom to secretly send the bride gifts of jeweler and such like, to show that his intention is serious.

The agreement to the engagement from both parties is publicly announced and ritualized through the exchange of gifts which symbolizes the mutual joining of the two Matis.

Courtship and marriage can be costly and is unthinkable before a Homin is economically sound. Apprentices and common homins are advised against getting wed until they have sufficient experience and means. I, myself, had to wait almost five years before I could contemplate such a course of action.

Moreover, divorce is severely frowned upon. However, if proved absolutely necessary, it can be pronounced by a senior ranking citizen after the payment of 500 000 dappers. Many Matis therefore prefer a separation rather than an official divorce, unless a second marriage is envisaged. Should you be divorced, the stigma is such that you will no longer be invited to official ceremonies, or indeed, the best parties.

And the Wedding itself?

The wedding month is traditionally the month of Harvestor, a time when resources are plentiful in our forests. The wedding takes place on a Holeth, to establish communion with Jena and pray for her benediction.

The master of ceremonies is generally a respected married member of society, having traveled the length and width of Verdant Heights. We were married by an official of the Queen's court, my mother having important friends. Who you know is still very important in Matis society.

Our guests received a formal invitation which invited them to honour us by their presence during the ceremony and throughout the festivities held afterwards. Of course we received many gifts; normally these are items rather than cash which used to be seen as a rather brash gift, effectively giving the couple the means to divorce

Our wedding day was a sple

all. Our vows were exchanged in Jena's name and were not spoken lightly by either of us.

The whole ceremony is a very solemn and religious occasion, and we could really feel Jena's blessing on us at the final moments. It was almost....emotional.

Of course, after all this we had a very expensive party which I believe went on all night. We led the dancing with the traditional circle dance of Jena, and after that the eating and drinking started in earnest. Some people suffered for it the next day, I believe!

Thank you for explaining that for us, Viero, may I wish you a long and prosperous married life together.


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