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Archive for the ‘Mexican traditions’ Category

I live in a small city surrounded by farms and small villages full with traditions and customs, places where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything. I’m constantly amazed by how different these traditions are sometimes, one that’s been on my mind lately concerns weddings.

My grandma -who grew up on a small village in the middle of the hillside- talks about the tradition of village weddings, weddings where everyone in town is invited. Traditionally the family let everyone know by putting a spot on the radio, papering the village with flyers or by word of mouth, sometimes people from neighbor villages might show up.

The reception is hosted in the town square the couple’s families sacrifice a cow or some sheep to feed the entire town, they might provide beer for everyone and of course they pay a live band to play the entire night.

If the event’s really big other people might even sell food or snacks around the city square, kind of like a fair. Sometimes the entire village might help and contribute to the party.

Everyone’s invited/ image by Inicia.es

If the event’s really big other people might even sell food or snacks around the city square, kind of like a fair. Sometimes the entire village might help and contribute to the party.

I was impressed by this concept, but it reached amazement when I recently heard it is still done! Some people at the small farms or villages surrounding the city still do these kinds of parties;

I was impressed by this concept, but it reached amazement when I recently heard it is still done! Some people at the small farms or villages surrounding the city still do these kinds of parties; some are even partially sponsored by the local brewery. Some big events even draw people from out of town, depending on how good’s the band playing.

An acquaintance is marrying a small village guy and the groom was adamant about putting a radio spot to let everyone know about the party. With today’s technology there’s the chance of hundreds, maybe thousands of people showing up to the party.

Wanting a small event, the idea of inviting the entire village to your wedding shocks me in ways I can’t describe, however, that’s what these people grew up used to. I can totally envision a young bride dreaming about having the entire town dancing at her wedding, whether she knows them or not.

Would you like to have such a big wedding? Would you like having everyone you know that day?

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I didn’t think much about bridal showers when I was little, it was just a party someone throws for a girl who’s getting married, however when I grew up and realize what a bridal shower really is around here, I decided I didn’t want one.

You know the idea of a bridal showers is to “shower the bride with love” or gifts (which we all know are material love… I’m kidding!… no, I’m seriously kidding). It is a beautiful concept, showing the bride-to-be you love her and her future husband and support their marriage, and even help them with something to start their lives together.

The tradition around here has the same concept but goes a bit different.

Some ladies, likely the bride and groom’s mothers and aunts, host a big party honoring the bride. They all contribute with certain amount of money to pay for the party and then invite a lot of their friends. Here’s where things start to get awkward.

The hostesses invite their friends, no matter if they know the bride and groom or not. There’s a pretty big chance most of the ladies invited to the shower won’t even be considered as guests for the wedding.

It’s common knowledge that a bridal shower’s purpose is to collect money for the couple, so it’s common knowledge that you have to pay to get into the party. The invites tell you the amount of money you’re expected to ‘gift’ (for lack of a better word). Etiquette tells you, you should not attend if you don’t take the expected gift.

Shocked yet?

I don’t feel at all comfortable about this, some people try to convince me, telling me it’s what everyone does and everyone knows how things roll, and they’re right, but that doesn’t make me feel more comfortable about it.

Sometimes it takes a lot of hostesses. Photo by El Valle.

Another reason I feel reluctant about a shower is the guest list. We’re having a relatively small wedding, we have such a big family we can only invite the main branches of our family tree (meaning just aunts, uncles and cousins). We have some extended family (parents’ cousins) we have a good relationship with, which we’ll be unable to invite to the wedding. I’d hate to have them at the shower and don’t invite them to the wedding.. Hi thank you for bringing me some money for my wedding, which you’re not invited to by the way. Awkward level: indescribable.

Image via Someecards

Some new tradition I’ve heard about is having a small brunch with just the hostesses, no added people involved. That sounds way easier and 110% less awkward.

This is yet another thing people rolls their eyes at me. Surprise surprise! I don’t want a bridal shower. My mom and FMIL Toadstool are aware of my position, so it’s up to them. Being honest, if they throw a shower I’d gladly attend, I’d only be extremely nervious and anxious. Let’s see how that turns out.

 

Would you feel comfortable with this tradition? Even if it’s a tradition?

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I grew up with the idea that the only way to get married was in a church, there were some papers to sign but the real deal happened inside a church. Needless to say I grew up to find there are other options.

There are a bunch of elements concerning the traditional church wedding I grew up seeing, here are the ones I can remember:

Padrinos:[Literal translation: godparents]
Bride and Groom have each an older couple who’ll help them though their married life, will advise them and ensure they are true to their wedding vows. Tradition says the padrinos pay for part of the wedding, but that’s debatable. There’s no maid of honor or best man in the wedding party.

Arras ceremony

Gold (or silver) coins [arras]:
These are 13 little (not real) coins the groom pours into the bride’s cupped hands during the ceremony, as a symbol of his dedication and the fact that he’ll support her trough life. As a new custom, some brides also pour the coins into the groom’s hands symbolizing her contribution to the household’s finances. Depending on the couple’s budget, this can be gold or silver or any other metal.

Ring exchange:
No need to explain here. The bride and groom exchange rings blessed by the priest. The rings are carried and handed by a member of the bridal party; unlike other traditional ring bearers, here the person carrying the rings is likely and adult.

Bouquet’s madrina:
The bride has two bouquets, cause one will be left somewhere in the church at the end of the ceremony (likely with a Virgin Mary’s image). The bouquet’s madrina is a girl who carries the bride’s second bouquet so she’ll be able to leave the church carrying a bouquet.

Lasso ceremony:

Lasso ceremony/ Image via VIP SanLuis

At some point during the mass while the couple kneels next to each other, a large eight shaped loop of cord or rosary beads is placed around their shoulders. The lasso is usually blessed with holy water symbolizing their union before god. Right before the end of the ceremony the lasso is removed. The lasso is carried, placed and removed by two members of the wedding party (likely two of the couple’s siblings) called the lasso bearers, altough my mom recently mentioned a new tradition of the bride and groom putting the lasso to each other.

Pajes:

Image via Bodaplan

These are little kids part of the bridal party who are in charge of spreading the wedding favors or programs and most of the time carrying the bride’s train when she walks down the aisle (the whole way).

All these little rituals are done in the middle of the traditional mass.

The wedding party is constituted by the madrinas, padrinos and the people carrying the different traditional tokens. The bride’s maids don’t carry bouquets and there’s a chance there are no groom’s men equivalent.

Those are the wedding related elements I can remember right now. I’ve seen unity candle ceremonies at a couple of weddings but those are not traditionally catholic.

We’re not doing any of the above listed traditions, we don’t identify ourselves as catholics, so having a religious ceremony is not in our plan and as the entire family relates these traditions to the catholic wedding, we think it might confuse them.

What kind of traditions or ceremonies are you incorporating?

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A quinceañera is a girl’s 15th birthday party celebration. The tradition comes from the times when parents introduced their daughter to society in a big celebration, letting everyone know she’s available for marriage (Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park anyone?).

This is supposed to mark a girls passing into womanhood, and is represented by some traditions like the dad’s girl changing her flats or sneakers (girl’s shoes) into high heels -her first grown up shoes.

Quinceañeras are pretty much like weddings. There’s a ceremony –thanksgiving mass- where the girl’s escorted down the aisle by both her parents, there are party favors and there’s a doll toss –like a bouquet toss, but this is supposed to be the girl giving up her doll to the younger girls.

Niece B with her parents after her Quinceañera mass this past October. I held that girl when she was 2 days old!/ Personal picture

I didn’t have a quinceañera, for one I didn’t want to be center of attention and on the other hand it is pretty darn ex.pen.sive. My mom says a quinceañera is a [not that] small wedding without a groom and paid by just one set of parents, and she’s right!

Whenever you visit a venue, caterer, photographer, seamstress… (you get the point) they treat quinceañeras and weddings the same way, I’m guessing there’s a small price difference, given that weddings are supposed to be a much bigger deal, but you often see the same packages and deals applied for both.

Quinceañeras are right up there with weddings. Girls are expected to want one and think of it as the happiest moment of their lives so far, and have an all-about-me experience.

My cousin changing his -no longer- little girl’s converse into high heels (yes I cried while he did this)/ Personal picture

For me turning 15 was unimportant, so a party would have no meaning, it didn’t make sense to me to have that huge (HUGE!) party just ’cause I’m a year older. Now I have a groom and a motivation, I want that all-about-us-and-our-love experience; I want that party surrounded by people we care about and, why not? I want to brag about it. I want to let the world know how much we love each other and how important our relationship is, and our way to do it is to have a wedding.

This is meaningful to us; it is a rite of passage from single life to married life and -in the eyes of some of our family- from childhood to adulthood. This makes sense.

Did you have a quinceañera or a sweet 16? Was it a big event?

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Mr. Toadstool and I are adamant about doing this our way, which means we’re not going the traditional way with this wedding, but I thought it might be fun to review some wedding related traditions whether we’re following them or not.

We’ve all heard at least once about a groom asking for the bride’s hand in marriage. In some cultures the guy has a talk with the girl’s father and after getting his blessing he asks the girl to marry him.

Mexican custom comes from the tradition of arranged marriages, where the couple’s fathers or the head of the family makes the decision and agrees on the couple’s union.

The traditional thing is more a rehearsed play rather than a ritual, but it goes something like this:

The guy’s family (or at least he and his parents) go to the girls’ house where the guy’s father talks to the girl’s father about his son’s intention to marry the girl (following?).

They might talk about their plans for the future and how much the guy loves the girl and how’s he going to take care of her, yada yada…

From The five-year engagement. Image via Screenrant

After the girl’s father agrees, he has a talk with the intended groom about taking care of his daughter. All of this happens with everyone, including the intended bride, sitting there witnessing everything. At this point the guy’s allowed to exchange some words with the girl and finally ask her to marry him and give her the ring. The deal’s done.

For me this is one of those traditions people follows while not being entirely sure why is done that way. Mr. Toadstool and I often joke about this, you know how they say “Asking for her hand in marriage”? and that morphed into “asking for her hand”?, well this just morphed into an easy “asking for her” (which in Spanish is just one word), so it’s our inside joke that he’ll pay my dad the “bride price”, like two chickens and a cow, in order to marry me.

Image via Someecards

Some people consider it very important and can’t imagine it not taking place; some people do it just as a social requirement or as a chance to have some pictures to send to the local paper. I know of some couples who do this weeks before the wedding, –when they already have the wedding planned, what if her dad says no?!

It’s a nice tradition and I know for a fact some people really look forward to it (some of our friends asked to be at ours), but it’s not our thing, so is it really worth it if it has no meaning to us? For me, getting your ring as part of a “protocol” in front of everyone is not romantic at all (insert robotic ‘will you marry me?’ here).

Bottom line, we didn’t do it that way. We sat with our parents (one couple at a time) to tell them “we’re getting married” (notice there’s no question there, we’re doing it). We dealt with it our way and although they were not thrilled with our non-traditional way, they accepted it and realized that’s the way that worked for us.

I’d like to hear some other traditions? How did your fiancé/husband asked for your hand in marriage?

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