Friday, July 26, 2013

The Wedding

I am researching marriage in early Modern Germany. I found a wonderful book entitle,
"Our Daily Bread: German Village Life 1500 - 1850" by Teva J. Scheer. The book gives genealogists a peek into life and culture during this period. This is a great resource because when trying to imagine what my great, great, great, great grandparents wedding was like this helped me fill in the picture.

Joannes and Anna would have probably had an arranged marriage. There is no evidence that I have found that either spouse were married previously or had children from a previous relationship. The marriage would have been arranged by the parents of the couple unless the parents were not alive then it would have been arranged by a family member. Joannes family member would have spoken to Anna's family and they in turn would have inquired of Anna if she was interested in meeting with Joannes. The same would have happened to Joannes and if it was mutual they would have met to determine if they were compatible. If they were respected by one another and if they had the same goals. At first Anna might have be hesitant because she lived a long time as a spinster and was shy when it came to me. But Joannes' family was well know among her family and she had known Joannes for many years. The couple decides to marry and what we know as       or inheritance is set for each of the couple. Joannes would bring to the marriage some land or tools, etc. Anna would receive part of her inheritance if her parents were still alive. This might include kitchen tools and utensils, linens, etc. During the week before the wedding Joannes' female family members would clean the house for the celebration.

The week before the marriage the bands would be read at church and if anyone of the congregation knew of a reason why they should not marry it would be brought to the attention of the minister. Then a day before the wedding the couple would go to the Rathouse a government civil service building were the couple would exchange small gifts as token of their commitment. Often the intended wife would display her skills with sewing by making shirts for her intended husband. The intended husband might purchase earrings or some other piece of jewelry for his future wife.

On the wedding day Joannes would walk to Anna's home and then the couple would walk to the church with members of the family and wedding guest following them. After the church service they would return to Joannes home for the celebration which would last into the wee hours of the morning. Some time during the celebration couple would sneek off to their room and members of the wedding party will serenade them with the banging of pots and pans.

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