Posted by: Jack Henry | July 3, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Speak now…

I’m not a big fan of cooking, but I try to do it so that we have healthy meals at home. In exchange, while I’m doing it, I subject the entire household to ahorrible, guilty pleasure: Bridezillas. I think part of me feels better for disliking this traditionally female activity (cooking) as I watch the most terrible, selfish, rude women in our country prepare for their weddings. After watching them, I feel like I must be a real prize for my husband. J

Anyway, on one of the last episodes of the season, the pastor said, “Speak now, or forever hold your peace,” and the groom’s sister told her brother he was making a huge mistake. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t listen. That got me wondering, why do we say that? Here to answer that question with a little history, is The Grammarist:

Speak now or forever hold your peace is an admonition to immediately share information that may not be known by others, or else keep this information to yourself for eternity. This phrase is derived from the Christian marriage ceremony. During medieval times, communication between distant communities was at best, spotty. To combat bigamy, or the practice of marrying multiple people in secret, the practice of marriage banns was enacted. When a marriage was impending it was announced for three consecutive Sundays. This would give all parishioners a chance to raise an objection to the marriage, usually on the grounds that the groom in question was already married to someone else. During the actual marriage ceremony, as a last chance to hear anyone’s information regarding the illegitimacy of the marriage about to take place, the priest was required to state that if anyone knew why the couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace. This phrase is often, but not always, included in today’s marriage ceremonies as a formality.

The term speak now or forever hold your peace is now sometimes used in other situations as a warning that is one’s last chance to object to something or voice an opinion.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

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Symitar Documentation Services

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