I’m writing a Christmas story for my blog, and thought it would be a great idea to have Darcy and Elizabeth marry on Christmas Eve. I was reminded by some friends about Holy Days in the church, and that marriages are restricted on certain days. That led me down quite the rabbit hole of research.
I began by searching Google. I don’t recall the search terms I used, but I refined them once or twice. I found some lovely blog posts, some on sites I had never seen before, but much of the information was word-for-word identical from site to site. This is one of the downfalls of using Google for research. How do I know if the information I have discovered is legitimate when every site says the exact same thing and the “proof” listed is someone else’s blog? And, the blogs do not list original sources? I expressed my frustration to my friends.
One of those friends suggested I look in the Book of Common Prayer. So, back to Google I went, this time searching for that Book. I did find a copy of an Anglican Book of Common Prayer, but the pages linked did not help me in my search for specific holy days on which marriages were prohibited from being performed. sigh
I had noticed that at least one of the blogs I had seen had listed our very own Sharon Lathan’s site as a source for some of their information. So, though I have visited her pages on marriage before (they are very interesting!), I went back and looked at them again. I was stumped, however, because she did not address the issue I was facing. Back to my friends for another round of whining. 😉
Another friend suggested I message Sharon directly, which I did, and to my grateful and happy delight, she sent me a link and a page number. The link led to a copy of the Book of Common Prayer dated 1880-something and which was the standard followed in the Regency period. Glory Hallelujah! <3
I will add a screenshot to my post that I took of the page. It turns out, Lent is not the only time in which the church restricted marriages. Specifically …
- from Advent (this year it’s on December 2) through eight days AFTER Epiphany, one cannot marry.
- From Septuagesima (the ninth Sunday before Easter and the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday) through the eighth-day after Easter, one cannot marry.
- And from Rogation Sunday (the Sunday before the Rogation Days, which are the three days before Ascension Day, aka Holy Thursday) through Trinity Sunday (the Sunday after Pentecost), one cannot marry. Roughly, that last means a period of Easter through eight weeks after.
Whew! That Rogation Sunday thing was a bit confusing and took some additional research to figure out. LOL
Now, it’s my understanding that Charlotte and Collins married on January 9th, which is clearly a restricted day. However, Collins was a clergyman, and he did need to get back to his own parish. And, while marriages were restricted, I’m quite sure exceptions were made now and then. So, it’s entirely likely that the Collins wedding would have indeed been performed on January 9th.
Where does this information leave me and my little blog story? Well … I’m not certain, but I’m guessing there will be a Christmas Eve proposal rather than a Christmas Eve wedding. 😀