Earth's Children

Mating refers to a formally recognised relationship between two or more people, essentially a precursor to marriage. Two people (or more) who are mated to each other are referred to as being 'mates' (which is treated as being the equivalent of 'spouse'). Both Cro-Magnon and the Clan have mating, but they have slightly different beliefs and traditions surrounding it.

Clan traditions[]

In the Clan, only men may take more than one mate. They are considered to be mated for life, with only death parting them, though in certain circumstances, the mating may be annulled, so to speak, usually if the man is unable to provide for his mate. Matings are usually arranged by the clan leader, with the mates - especially the woman - having little say in the matter. However, some people may be able to influence the leader to mate a person of their choice. They may also wish or pray to their totem to allow them to mate a specific person. Although uncommon, it is not completely unheard of for Clan couples to mate for love, a notable example being Yorga and Guban

There is usually a small mating ceremony conducted by the clan's Mog-ur, though some matings, such as when a man takes a second mate, are less formal. Some matings may be arranged years in advance, such as the mating between Durc and Ura, which was arranged by their respective mothers, with permission given from the leaders of their clans. The woman will usually go to live with her mate's clan. Mating can be a useful way to form alliances. Most men and women are expected to mate - women who become pregnant without being mated are regarded as being unlucky, possibly because she doesn't have a man to help provide for her and her child, which could make raising a child more difficult. Some people, however, never mate. 

Clan matings are sometimes very happy, with mates eventually falling in love or at least becoming friends. Other matings, however, are not so happy, such as in the case of Iza and her mate, which saw Iza suffer years of abuse before her mate finally died, much to her relief. Women of the Clan gain more status via their mates - save for medicine women, who have status in their own right and can provide status to a mate. It is mentioned that incestuous matings are sometimes allowed; however, it is forbidden for siblings to mate.  

Cro-Magnon traditions[]

Cro-Magnon mating traditions and customs vary somewhat depending on the tribe, but there are some universal traditions and beliefs. Matings occur within a formal, public ceremony, conducted by a shaman. The ceremony is usually referred to as a Matrimonial and usually take place during Summer Meetings, with many couples being mated in the same ceremony. Couples choose their own mates, so mating for love is common, though couples may mate for other reasons. Couples usually wear their best outfits or may have an outfit specially made. Most tribes have polygamous practices, with people sometimes taking more than one mate. Some people even mate the same person in a Matrimonial - the people involved are often known as co-mates. However, not all people involved are necessarily considered  mated to each other; rather, it is more like the modern concept of having sister-wives. One example of this would be a Zelandonii man who mated twin sisters, as they didn't want to be apart. Both men and women can have multiple mates. 

Only adults can be mated; girls must go through First Rites before they can mate (even if they are technically no longer virgins). Unlike the Clan, matings where the woman is already pregnant are considered lucky. Mates can provide each other with social status. Incestuous matings are usually forbidden, though distant cousins are allowed to mate; they may, however, have to seek permission from their tribe's shamans. Notably, matings can be annulled - amongst the Zelandonii and Lanzadonii, this is known as "severing the knot" - if a couple are no longer happy together. Severing the knot is apparently not looked down upon, though every situation is, of course, different. Taking another mate after 'severing the knot' is not frowned upon either. There can be many reasons why a couple would sever the knot, just as their are many reasons why modern couples may seek a divorce. Matings are usually not arranged by a third party and matings through force and coercion are seen as taboo. 

Mamutoi traditions[]

Amongst the Mamutoi, it is customary for a man to provide a muti or carved representation of the Mother, to 'witness' the mating. Women often have a special outfit made for them by their family or close friends. The outfit is often designed to show off a woman's breasts, as a Mamutoi woman "proudly displays her breasts" at her Matrimonial. Not much else is known about Mamutoi mating customs. 

Zelandonii traditions[]

The Zelandonii require that a man and woman who are intending to mate be in seclusion for a whole day, with Matrimonials being held at night. Many years ago, mates-to-be reportedly had to be in seclusion for an entire month. They are not allowed to communicate with their mate-to-be, not even passing them messages, though other people can communicate with them in-directly on their behalf - for example, Ayla is able to get Marthona to deliver a Matrimonial outfit she made for Jondalar to him, without directly communicating with him. A Zelandoni will speak to each of them of the importance of compromise and respect in a mating and give them a chance to back out, should they change their mind, as matings are not a decision made lightly. The men and women then go out in a line, and each couple goes before the Zelandoni conducting the ceremony one by one to be mated. 

They exchange vows and have they hands tied together with rope to symbolise their commitment; hence mating is also known as "tying the knot". Afterwards, the new mates are required to be in seclusion again for a week and are not allowed to speak with anyone unless it is an emergency. This is meant to test them as a couple, with the idea being that if a couple cannot work together for a few days, then they probably shouldn't be mating. If the couple decides they do not want to be mated after all, they can go to a Zelandoni to have the knot severed and are allowed to go their separate ways. If a couple lasts until the end of the trial period, they are considered full mates and are given matching necklaces to wear (similar to the modern day wedding bands worn by couples). 

Sharamudoi traditions[]

When a Sharamudoi couple decided to mate, they participated in a Promise ceremony and feast. After the ceremony, there was a fun contest between the Promised couple and the guests in which the lovers would try to be alone as soon as possible, and the guests would try to delay them.