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Historical Perspective on a
Traditional Mexican Wedding (Page 1 of 7)
Article Index:
Pg. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Religion, tradition, and beliefs of Spanish and Indian influences have formed the symbolism and rituals of traditional Mexican Catholic Weddings. The sequence and significance of events leading to the marriage ceremony are rituals themselves. Since "the first Christian marriage among the Indians of New Spain took place in Huejotzingo in 1525, "1, rituals have evolved in several different ways.

A basic pattern of courtship, betrothal, gift-exchanging, wedding, and feast are common for most marriages in Mexico and the Southwest, though they may differ depending on social and financial status, and Indian or Spanish customs. The texts used for this report included several anthropological studies of Mexican villages made several decades ago. I assumed many of the traditions and customs practiced by the Indians remained the same since the turn of the century and before, because they did not seem to have evolved 'socially' and technologically as 'acculturated' pueblos. These studies seemed to offer a 'window to the past' to the interested reader.


Marriage rituals were taken very seriously by Hispanics, especially on the frontier, because they "meant the propagation of the race and the ability to continue living here and continue to be able to subdue the earth."2 Marriage marked the transition from junior to senior or adult status. Most importantly, it established contractual relationships among the parents and godparents of the bride and those of the groom. "In Hispanic culture the protocol surrounding a wedding were among the most rigidly adhered to."3 Though Christian-church ritual displaced certain elements of old Aztec customs, others remained. The marriage ceremonial had, in general, a simple Catholic form. Similarities and differences between the two cultures will be explained throughout this report. The complex and usually enduring courtship rituals varied among the Spanish and Indians in the nineteenth century and earlier. The courtship ritual, an integral part of the marriage, included much symbolism and formality. It involved both families, a system of compadrazgo, and gift-exchanging.

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