Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Now Pronounce You....

One of the fun things to experience in another culture is a marriage ceremony.  If you think about it, God has a lot to say about the marriage relationship, but very little about the actual ceremony, which leaves lots of room for interpretation.

  Yesterday we got to spend the day with the Sut Gonzales family as they married off their daughter Maria to Sebastian.  The couple is uncommonly "old" at 28 years old, both of them.  It was a traditional family get together, with most people arriving between 8-9:00 AM and sitting around waiting for the groom's family to arrive from about 2 hours away.

 Once arrived, we had hot chocolate and pan dulce (sweetend bread) and visitied while the couple, their parents and family witnesses (like marriage brokers) sat in a special room listening to wise counsel and family expectations.  Most of us sat around outside, but you could go in and listen to the procedings if you could find an empty chair.
Here we are at the guest of honor table--all of our students look happy and healthy.

Once that part was over with, the bride was taken into her room and the mother-in-law and mother and as many girls as could fit in the room went with her to change into the new clothes that the groom's family had bought her.  I (Lisa) was invited in to snap some pictures.  Notice the groom in the corner and the guy filming the moment--after she got dressed of course.  Her cousins fixed up her hair and she came back all dolled up and ready to be presented before the family counsel. They spent another half hour meeting, then lunch was served to wedding party  first (still in the counsel room) and then to guests (about 250 people). 
  Finally, everyone came out and gathered around the large prepared table in the courtyard where they bring in the gifts from each family.  First was the blankets (12 methodically counted out in front of everyone), then 7 changes of clothing for the bride--ornately woven blouses, skirts, and belts (from the groom), 16 perajes (colorful wraps used to carry things, including babies), towels, suts--kitchen cloths (like smaller perajes).  This signalled the closing of the deal and the couple was presented to the guests.  Then we were invited to come greet them and leave our gifts.  It was pretty emotional for the bride's family as she would be leaving them and moving a couple of hours away (by car). 

 Lunch assembly line headed for the wedding party table.

 12 blankets--some remark was made about expecting a large family!

 Caught ya'!  Sebastian snoozing after lunch while waiting for the gift table to get assembled.

 Carefully inventorying the presents.

 Hermano Kemmel!  Cutting down balloons for the mob of kids.

 The Exodus.  Notice our nicely dressed Northamerican student--Molly's host mom thought it would be good to dress her up for the day--especially since the other girls got dressed up yesterday for church and she didn't.  She got several approving glances--one old man walked by and patted her on the shoulder saying "pure Chichicastenango girl!".

The new couple and his family rode away in a rented bus and a pickup truck to carry all of the gifts.  Today, the bride's mom goes to visit and help unwrap all of the gifts. 
It was a good day of fellowship and a peek into another aspect of local culture for our students and us. It's beautiful to see how every culture honors the union of a couple and how even God uses this universal institution to describe the church's relationship to Christ our savior.  Beautiful!
...Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7-8

1 comment:

Health Talents International said...

Thank you for sharing this delightful wedding story with us!