The bonding of two Raog into a life partnership, was generally small and intimate, including only family members. The ceremony was done in the home’s garden, where each guest removed their foot covering and by standing in the soil they renewed their connection to the soil and Varo. The actual ceremony was when the pair announced their intention to become a part of each other’s life within the soul of Varo. The only gift they received was a simple life container. To conclude the ceremony, the couple and guests each knelt and retrieved some of the soil they were standing on and placed their handfuls in the container. That symbolized their connection to the soil and their guests. The couple carried the container of Varo soil to their place of residence and it would become the start of their garden.
Once that simple ceremony happened they were bonded for life and separating that bond never happens to a Raog, bonded for life was bonded for life.
Ornage was scared. He asked Sonyata to be his life partner and she accepted. He was excited, but he was also scared. He knew that this was the right thing to do, after all she was the one Raog that he wanted to be with the rest of life.
Ornage dressed in his partnering clothes, which were similar to what Sonyata was wearing. Both would be wearing soil colors similar to what a soil tender wore. The colors signified the union as part of Varo and the soil which Varo provided.
The two future life partners dressed by themselves in separate rooms in the Grand Leader’s home. The solitude signified that they were alone coming into the ceremony and when joined they would depart together; partnered for life.
The waiting groom paced a little, waiting for a knock on the door. While he paced, he had thoughts of his life and growing up. He thought of his mother, who had been with the soil for some time. He remembered the close bond that his mother and father had and how it was obvious to anyone that they loved and were devoted to each other.
Ornage missed his mother and this was one of the many times in his life that he wished that she was there. He was confident that his mother would love Sonyata and welcome her into their family. Ornage knew that his father loved Sonyata also. Every time Ornage was with Sonyata and he glanced at his father, his father looked happy and content. He hadn’t expressed his thoughts, but Ornage could tell that he was happy with the union.
Eventually, Ornage heard a gentle knock, he took one last deep breath and exited the room. He entered the main room and all he was looking for was Sonyata. He saw her entering the garden from another direction, and she was beautiful. She moved slowly and effortlessly and seemed to glide into the room. Her eyes were on him and his on her.
The only guests in attendance were the two families, on his side were his father and his mothers’ sister, Lonra and her husband Jauam. After his mothers’ death, they helped a great deal as Ornage was growing up. Sonyata had both of her parents and her Uncle Ingott and his wife Obsom. From her mother’s side were her Aunt Illa and her life partner Billog and their two young, Ibaz and Ortuz. Her uncle Ingott and her Aunt Obsom were the ones she loved the most. They were never blessed by Varo with young, so Sonyata was their surrogate daughter.
Sonyata and Ornage walked to each other in the center of the garden and after, what felt like a long walk, Ornage and Sonyata joined hands. Each had a prepared speech which was supposed to include the keywords that declared their love for each other and promise to care, protect and provide for each other for the rest of their lives.
The tradition was, that who asked the other, would go first. Thus, Ornage was supposed to go first as if he was asking her for the first time. After a pause, he began the most-important speech of his life.
“Sonyata, I am in love with you and you are the one who will fill the hole in my heart. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I know we will have hard times, good times, sick times and sometimes we will be angry with each other. I am asking you to be my life partner so that I can protect you, care for you and provide for you. Will you accept me and become my life partner?”
“Ornage, I am in love with you also. I agree we may have hard times through which I will help you, provide for you, care for you and when necessary protect you. My heart is empty and becoming your life partner will make it complete. Yes I will become your life partner.”
Then they said together, “As we stand here on Varo’s soil we commit our lives to each other.”
After the ceremony had ended, all guests hugged each other and then each knelt and picked up a handful of soil, which they placed in the life container. Many of them added a second handful of soil which they brought from their gardens. Bringing soil together and combining it demonstrated how all of the families had joined and each shared the common soil of Varo.
When the ceremony ended, they all shared a traditional Jabom meal. The traditional partnering banquet had a series of small Jabom dishes. Each dish was from a different part of the Jabom life cycle and showed how the plant grew, changed and improved. The meal was concluded with a toast of Jabom wine which was made at the last stages of Jabom growth when it was the sweetest. That progression of dishes was a symbol of how a partnership was supposed to develop. Each stage getting better until the final stages, where the best tasting wine was produced.
After the wine had been poured, it was an appropriate time for comments. With the occasion of the Grand Leader’s daughter partnering with Ornage, it was too much of an opportunity for the Grand Leader to pass up.
He moved to center of the garden with his robes flowing and he lifted his glass. “We are here to celebrate the partnering of my daughter Sonyata, with Ornage. This is the happiest time in a mother and father’s life. There are many events going on around us, but none are as important as what we just enjoyed here. I ask all of you to taste the sweat Jabom wine and let it remind you of how good a union theirs will become.
There was a gentle pumping of arms and subtle grunting as the guests indicated their approval.
Doctor Wong, was not a public speaker and he knew that. But he also knew that this was the most-important time in his son’s life, so he owed it to him to make the appropriate remarks.
“Guests, having you participate as part of this great day for Sonyata and Ornage adds to its importance. They are young and they are starting on a long journey, and they will soon know how exciting that journey is. I wish them everything, and that their future is full of happiness.”
The gentle hand pumping and grunting subsided as it was Sonyata’s mother’s turn to speak. After all, she was the Orb and her comments were special.
“My daughter Sonyata and Ornage have decided to become life partners. That is a solemn commitment because we know how important it is. But it is also a happy commitment because we know the joy that it will bring. We are all aware of the stresses around us …but Varo is good and it will protect us and this new couple. Let us sip the Jabom wine and share it its sweetness.
After the partnering ceremony, the entire entourage walked to the young couple’s new home. On the way, they were recognized as a young, newly partnered couple, and many Raog on the street stopped them and wished them well in the future. When the party reached their new home, they helped spread the soil in Ornage and Sonyata’s garden. That was the final step in the ceremony and after a reasonable amount of congratulations and celebration they were left alone to spend a few days together in their new home enjoying the beginning of new life.
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