People from far and near have chosen Mexico and especially the Riviera Maya as their wedding destination. The reasons to choose this beautiful location for a special day are endless and the pull it has is only augmented by the traditions of the Mexican people, including rites and rituals at weddings.
Like the many traditions found throughout Mexico, the wedding traditions also vary from city to city, town to town, and even family to family. But there are three things that are unique to the Mexican culture and many families continue to carry on in today’s religious wedding ceremony.
The Thirteen Gold Coins
In some parts of Mexico and some families, the groom gives the bride 13 gold coins called “arras.” It is a Roman tradition of breaking a piece of gold or silver. Half of the piece of gold is kept by the bride and the other half by the groom, as a compromise of the union.
In Mexico, the groom gives the bride the 13 coins as a symbol of trust. He promises that he trusts her with his finances. When the bride accepts the gift, she promises to take this trust with care and prudence. The gift is presented in an ornate box or gift tray which represents good wishes for prosperity. The coins represent Christ and his 12 apostles.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the coins are presented to the priest who blesses the coins. The groom hands the coins to his best man who returns them to the priest near the end of the ceremony. At the end, the groom returns the coins to the bride, endowing his finances over to her.
Los Padrinos (Godfathers)
Los Padrinos translates as godparents and are sponsors for different aspects of the wedding such as the flowers, the ceremony, the cake, and even the bride’s dress. These padrinos contribute to the cost of the wedding ceremony.
Included in the padrinos (madrina for the woman), there is a madrina de copas who carries a wine glass for the toast. There is also padrinos for a prayer book, a rosary, a guestbook, and an embroidered kneeling pillow.
The bride can also choose a madrina de velacion to guide her throughout her married life. The last person in the procession is the remembrances-bearer who is in charge of carrying the memorabilia that is handed to guests. In some families, there are also godparents who promise to look after the couple financially and spiritually.
El Lazo (Lasso)
To represent the unity part of the ceremony, some couples include the “lazo” or lasso to their ceremony. The lazo is a large loop of rosary beads that is placed around the necks of the couple in the shape of an eight. The loop is a symbol of love that binds the couple as they share the responsibility of marriage.
Some couples choose to be entwined in orange blossoms as this symbolizes fertility and happiness. In some families, a double rosary lasso is also given by one set of the parents.
The padrinos de lazo place the rosary on the couple after the latter have exchanged vows. It is placed on the shoulders of the groom first, and then intertwined with the bride. The couple wears the lasso throughout the remainder of the service. Once it is removed, the lasso is given to the bride as a memento of her becoming the mistress of the groom’s heart and home.
The Mexican traditions have evolved with the passing of time, combining ancestral Mayan and Aztec rituals, Spanish customs, and modern wedding trends. The food, music, dresses, and even customs vary from family to family. But one thing is true: Mexicans believe on the solidity and hard foundation of marriage as the pillars of the family. These sentiments combined with beautiful traditions form unforgettable weddings.
Can you add anything to the list? What other wedding traditions are unique to your culture?