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  Orcadian Wedding Traditions

Customs and First Steps

The Wedding March: Illustration by Sigurd Towrie

The typical Orcadian wedding was, and to a certain extent still is, much more than a simple family affair.

A wedding was a time to celebrate - a time to break free from the rigours of daily life and participate in an event that could last for days, and involved the entire community.

Speirin night'

The first stage of the old Orcadian wedding traditions took place on the night on which the prospective groom formally asked his sweetheart's father for her hand in marriage.

This night was referred to as "speirin’ night", from the dialect word speir meaning to ask.

On this quest it was common for the hopeful lad to carry a bottle of whisky, which was known as the speirin’ bottle. With this liquor he would hope to sway the father's decision in his favour. Then, if permission was granted, tentative arrangements were discussed over a few glasses from the speiring bottle.

The significance of the moon

Section Contents
Customs and First Steps
Fit Washin' Night
Saltwater and freshwater
Kissing Meat
Biddin' da Folk
The Blackening
The Wedding Day Arrives...
The Wedding Feast
The Wedding Cogs
After the Wedding

See Also
Wedding Traditions and the Odin Stone
Marriage Divination
Fairy Folk
The Trows

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