Saturday, January 21, 2017

Scottish Wedding Traditions

I was listening to the radio while driving for work (both things I do often), and there was this interview with crime novelist Catriona McPherson about her newest novel "Reek of Red Herrings", the latest in her series of murder novels. It was a nice interview, but what caught my attention was her attention to the peculiar wedding traditions of the Banffshire coast in Scotland, of which I had never heard.

Some juicy bits from the cold, grassy hills of Scotland:
  • The men fish all year so they hold all of their weddings at the same time as a community around Christmas time
  • Weddings last a week and there is a different event/activity every day
  • Generally they do a "handfasting" (a ceremony where the groom/bride's hands are tied together) as a pre-wedding, these aren't binding if they can't have kids, so they try out the marrige first by trying to have a kid. If the bride gets pregnant they get married, if not they court others.
  • The blackening of the bride, as the groom nails his bride's colors to his mast this makes her interesting to demons and other malevolent fey, so she has nasty stuff poured over her (rotten eggs in cabbage water for example) to dissuade them from taking her

So to just to throw out some ideas of how to use these:
  • The party shelters on an island from a storm, they get roped in as part of a wedding party in exchange for shelter. But! Body parts of one of the many grooms are found in fish barrels. Who done it? They have a week of weird traditions to deal with to solve the mystery before everyone goes back to fishing!
  • An ancient murder victim is found preserved in a peat bog, seemingly confirming that dear great-great-great-great-grandpa really was murdered, not just lost in the bog! Old tensions boiling over after the body is found, and the long dormant blood feud is renewed. Soon brides are killing their grooms and grannies are poisoning their grandchildren from the other side of the village feud! Can you solve the ancient murder and smooth the tensions in the village? Maybe a marriage would help!
  • The PCs badly misinterpret the social situation and they all get married! (Not unlike that Firefly episode...)
  • Actual demons and cruel fey want to take away the bride, have to fight them off while the really long and intricate wedding ceremony goes on.

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