Customs of Ibiza: Betrothals and elopements

January 15th, 2009 - 3:18 pm Posted in customs, ibiza, tradition | Comments (0)

ibiza historyA unique form of courtship known as the festeig was practiced in rural areas where opportunities for young people to meet each other were scarce bordering on non-existent. To remedy this lack of social intercourse, the custom developed of holding openhouses so that young people could get to know each other.

Several suitors would show up at the finca of a marriageable girl, all on the same night and all keen to try their luck at love. Over time, the light of attraction would flicker between a girl and one of her suitors, and, the youth would ask the young lady for her hand in marriage. If she accepted, and her parents were of an equal mind, the long and winding road to betrothal was undertaken.

Marital diplomacy

It was at this stage that a matchmaker stepped into the picture. We must be careful to note, however, that in Ibiza the term ‘matchmaker’ did not carry its typical connotation of a village woman who proposed who should marry whom. As we have already learned, couples got together of their own accord by means of the festeig.

Rather, a matchmaker was a mediator, almost always a man, who arbitrated the delicate matter of what each spouse would contribute to their life together. He negotiated what the bride’s dowry would consist of, whose land the newlyweds would farm, which house they would live in, etc. The parents of the potential marriage partners were considered too intimately involved in the situation to be either objective or diplomatic. Any rejection of terms by one side might elicit indignation in the other side and ran the risk of marring marital harmony before the couple even reached the altar. Hence, third parties were sought to liaise between the two families.

The full article is here: Customs of Ibiza: Betrothals and elopements

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