Friday, Feb 26, 2006, 7:45PM
The lovely mild weather that greeted our arrival back in the village two days earlier was taking a foreboding turn for the worse. Preparing the initial stage of a marriage ceremony, the Buena Vista household was anxiously making preparations for the first of several bendiciones, blessings of the couple by close kin and assembled godparents in front of a household altar. …Suddenly, some young neighborhood children danced into our courtyard shouting of the bride’s appearance. From inside the doorway I saw the group at the entrance to the house compound waiting to be formally greeted and led into the house. My wife and I, having served as padrinos for Rosalba’s Quinceañera celebration, each put leafy coronas on our heads, grabbed a single white carnation in one hand and a lit candle in the other. This was the ancient greeting of respect marking every major family ritual – the corona a sign of status and respect, the flower opens the sense of smell and a candle to light the path to understanding. With the band playing we were led out by the eldest couple in Rosalba’s lineage while a great-aunt swung copal incense to spiritually purify the entourage. Together we marched to the visitors, placed our coronas on their heads, gave them the flowers and candles and escorted them to the family altar.
Figure 7.1 A similar scene of greeting ritual painted in the mid-16th century. From the Florentine Codex
… It was said that shortly after the procession to Buena Vista began, Rosalba fainted and had to be brought back to the house before restarting the procession. However, now back at her parent’s home, the bride-to-be gradually regained her composure by the end of the blessings and began to relax as festivities moved outside for a meal and music. My wife and I were pleased to see that over the next couple of days Rosalba joyously threw herself into the festivities, especially a performance of role reversal with the couple dancing as the opposite gender. (Book pg. 152)
Discussion board for web
As you watch the video “Rosalba’s Wedding,”think about similarities and differences to wedding ceremonies you are familiar with and how the marriage ritual itself binds or separates the couple with regard to broader kinship groupings and creates a cultural space for family formation and a pathway to late adulthood maturity.