This summer, Jack married his partner in Mexico City, bringing together his family and that of his wife. Here Jack explains some of the colourful traditions of Mexican marriage.
Cultures all over the world have different traditions and ways of celebrating the marriage of two people in love and Mexico is no different. I have been with my partner for almost four years now and this summer, we got married in Tlalpan in the south of Mexico City.
Mexico is a country with very strong family values. My family arrived from the North East of England and as well as my wife’s Tlalpan family, aunts, cousins and friends arrived from across other Mexican states and the USA. In many Mexican weddings there are a huge number of guests with all of the family, friends and even friends of friends being invited in order to witness and share the special day. Many weddings have padrinos or “Godparents” for different aspects of the wedding who pay for things such as the flowers, rings, drinks etc. This is considered as a big honour and the newly married couple can go to their padrinos for advice on love issues.
Many Mexicans also choose to get married in a Catholic wedding ceremony. Special traditions of this are the tying of a lasso in a figure of eight around the couple to symbolise the everlasting bond of marriage. Another tradition is that the groom gives 13 gold coins to his wife to show his trust in her and that he will care for her, each gold coin representing one month of the year, the 13th for extra income. Among many other traditions are that the wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, much like in other countries! Interestingly, the reason for this is that it was believed that the vein in this finger ran directly to the heart. If you are thinking about getting married in Mexico, it is important to note that it is only the civil ceremony that is recognized legally by the state, and not the religious section, despite its obvious spiritual importance.
Perhaps the most fun tradition is that of the mariachis! They play at the reception and often, guests attach money to the groom’s suit to give them a little helping hand with the honeymoon. As the guests party on into the night, another round of food is served, this time, a lot more informal including tacos, a BBQ, chilaquiles or perhaps spicy tamales. Sometimes the party can last until the next morning so the guests need to keep their energy levels up!
Our own wedding had some of these traditions but also used some elements from UK traditions. Ours was a non-religious wedding but we did choose to have Mexican food at the reception with chili stuffed with cheese in a bean sauce and chicken filled with huitalcoche in a pumpkin flower sauce. My wife threw her bouquet into the crowd of ladies and I threw her garter, the night finished in my mother in law’s garage with the guests eating steak from the BBQ, drinking Newcastle Brown Ale and listening to a band of boleros playing. Instead of wedding cake, we chose to have cupcakes.
Our wedding was a wonderful day, bringing together some wonderful traditions from both mine and my wife’s country. More than that though, we made it our own with our favourite music, food and entertainment.
This will be my last column about Mexican culture for The Bubble but I would love to hear from you! My contact address is: email@example.com