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The Significance of the Moon

Traditionally, Orcadian weddings took place during the islands’ long, dark winters. This was probably for no other reason than during the light half of the year all hands were required on the farms or out at sea.

However, like many other aspects of Orcadian life, great importance was placed on the moon when planning the wedding.

It was important, for example, that a couple be married "with the moon growing and the tide flowing" - the time between the New Moon and Full Moon, when it was said to be waxin'.

To marry during the wane of the moon was regarded as extremely unlucky, with the couple sure to remain childless.

These conditions were observed in some of the islands as recently as the 1930s, where the moon affected many other aspects of daily life. Livestock, for example, would not be slaughtered during the wane for fear that the meat would be of an inferior quality and might even shrink in the cooking pot!!

Choosing the date

If circumstances dictated that the wedding had to be held in summer, then the month of May was strictly avoided. The reason for this taboo is now unclear.

Once the month of the wedding had been decided, the next step was to decide on a day.

Thursday was thought to be the best day for a marriage but if this was not possible, Tuesday or Sunday would suffice. Again, the reason for these specific days is now unclear. Whether based on religion, superstition or practicality, I cannot say.

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
Courtship, love and marriage in Viking Scandinavia

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