Weddings are vibrant affairs, celebrating one of the most important events in the lives of two individuals. They are often chock full of traditions unique to the country, culture, or region where the couple grew up. In Peru, wedding celebrations are known for the use of color in every aspect of the event.
The wedding clothes, for example, are bright and vibrant with geometric designs. Women often wear multiple layers of colorful skirts, while men celebrate in ponchos and sandals. The bride and groom each have a unique poncho and skirt made for their special day. There are no wedding parties, and the focus is on the couple, their parents, and their grandparents.
The ceremony itself also serves as a reminder of their duties in marriage, as well as blessings for the couple. This speech is often delivered by an ancestor of the couple. Once the ceremony is over, the celebration begins. These affairs can last long into the night, often with a band or orchestra playing folk music or other music.
There is also a ritual dedicated to Pacamama, who is the Earth Goddess that is part of Peruvian culture. They also bury small doll versions of the bride and groom, wrapped in cocoa leaves with a seed. It is meant to represent good luck for the bride and groom. The seed is for a tree and meant to represent how the couple’s love will grow.
Throughout the event, these is laughter and food. One wedding ritual involves the cake pull, where an inexpensive ring or charm is tied to a ribbon and then attached to the base of the wedding cake. Several ribbons are available, and the single women all come and pull the ribbon before the cake is cut. The woman who gets the ring is supposed to be the next to marry.
Another option is for the single ladies to try to steal the groom’s boutonniere. He can give it to the lady he thinks should get married next, but in the meantime, he must protect it from the potential thieves!
A despacho is also a tradition that is part of multiple events in Peru. A variety of symbolic items are laid onto a cloth. Guests are invited to come up and put their intentions for the couple into coca leaves, which are added to the despacho. The core of the despacho is built from food items, flowers, and other items, all of which are blessed with various intentions for the couple’s life together. Once everyone has contributed, it is wrapped in local weavings, tied, and blessed. The couple receives it as a gift and then can either burn or bury it. Doing so allows all the blessings to be sent to Mother Earth, so that they may be fulfilled.
The couple also wears wedding rings, but these are worn on the right hand instead of the left. A superstition is that it is bad luck to wear any ring on your right ring finger before you marry.
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