Ezo Marriage Ceremony
A dizzy union of time and space.
It is said, long ago, that Ryoku and Ikigai were walking through the light of The First Flame. Then, Yami came, and thought it would be funny to trick the couple by making them lost. He threw a quilt over their heads while they were not looking, and they were surrounded in the void of space. They feared for themselves, as they could see nothing, not even each other. "What shall we do?" Ryoku implored. "We cannot continue if we cannot see." "This is all I have," Ikigai replied, producing a small red string which glimmered even in the darkness. The two tied the string to their fingers. "This may not help, but at least we shan't lose one another!" The two continued to wander under the quilt of the void for what seemed to be eons. In time, as Ryoku desperately tried to escape from the quilt, he began to circle around Ikigai looking for an exit. She beckoned him to stop, but he felt so constrained by the quilt, he knew of no other option. Soon, he spun around Ikigai so many times looking for an exit that the red string ran down, until Ryoku crashed into Ikigai, knocking them both to the ground. They were now both fully bound in a tangled mess with each other on the ground. Ryoku was fearful. How ever were they to escape? But Ikigai burst into an unstoppable laughter. "Why do you laugh, Ikigai? Our lives are at threat! If we don't find an escape..." "Then I would rather not escape, for an eternity spent here with you where I am laughing is worth thousands where we are apart." And so the two embraced in the darkness in happiness. Soon, Unmei came about, and saw Yami snickering in a corner. She pulled away the veil, and the two lovers laughed amongst each other at their predicament while Unmei chastised Yami. And so the two lovers were joined forever.
Ezo marriage ceremonies date back at least to the Third Age, although it is difficult to place how long they have been around, because there are many ancient written accounts that conflict with each other, and many of the documents linking these texts have been lost to the fates of time. Many historians say that they date back as far as the First Age, while others insist that at least in a contemporary context, they cannot possibly be older than the Third.
During the ceremony, everyone is gathered ideally "in a space of free air, under the light of the stars." It is said that to invoke all of The Vestiges, hosting the wedding after dark is ideal, as all the factors of The Vestiges can be channeled: Yami with the darkness of the sky emulating the quilt, the stars and torches to light the ceremony representing The First Flame, and the humans in attendance as a reflection of Unmei, with the couple in question representing Ryoku and Ikigai. Contemporary weddings in the Sixth Age are less strict, and there are no rules saying a wedding cannot be held in the day, or indoors during inclement weather, or without an audience when impossible; however, the ideal remains the preferred method for most couples. The audience forms a circle, ideally with the families of the proposer and proposed standing opposite of each other in a full circle. A priest or cleric enters the circle and calls for the "proposer," specifically the one who proposed to the other (regardless of gender) to approach. The proposer is asked to confirm their intentions for the proposed. After this, the proposed is called forth, and asked if they truly accept the proposers intentions. When the intentions are set, the couple tie a red string upon their smallest finger, or otherwise, their wrist. In certain ceremonies, strings are also tied from each of the proposer and proposed's family to the proposer and proposed themself, although this custom is traditionally not practiced anymore because of its complexity in the ceremony, and is reserved particularly when two large (usually noble) families are joining together through the marriage. Once the strings are tied, the proposer walks to the edge of the audience and orbits their proposed at the edge of the circle. The priest leads calls against the union to anyone who wishes, or will do it themself. To each response, the proposed are expected to say, "I do not care." When the priest calls back, "Why?" the couple responds "I am theirs and they are mine." This process continues for several orbits until the couple proposer wraps the entire string around their proposed and they are physically joined together. From this point, the couple is unwrapped and is usually showered by the audience with rice and flower petals. The wedding is then confirmed by the priest as complete, and the attendants usually seek out a reception afterward.
Components and tools
A simple red string and various ceremonial kimonos.
Priest or Cleric, the groom and bride, and an audience.