The Latino Wedding Traditions You’ve Been Taking Part In Are Deeply Rooted In History From Other Cultures
When it comes to our bodas, Latinos have the traditions and customs on lock. From money dances to wedding vows, there is no aspect of a wedding that involves a Latina that won’t be strongly steeped in culture and tradition. But where did our unique practices of the “traditional wedding” come from anyway? It turns out, while so much of the weddings that take place in countries like Cuba, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Peru aren’t just based in their lands of origins.
In fact, many of customary traditions match surprisingly along with the traditions of countries across the globe.
These days brides have become accustomed to offering their bridesmaids a bit more leniency and control over the dresses they wear to wedding ceremonies. While it was once much more common to see brides of all sizes and shapes donning the exact same dresses, size-inclusivity and consideration have inspired many brides to allow their girls to pick out styles for themselves while wearing the same color or shade.
Matching dresses during the processional wasn’t always a tactic used by brides to ensure they stood out over the rest, however. In fact, bridesmaids of Ancient Rome originally wore dresses that looked similar to the bride’s so that they could help her to outsmart evil spirits. With so many dresses to compare, evil spirits wouldn’t know which woman in the lineup was the bride that day.
But the bridesmaids’ duties were far more treacherous in early Rome, where they were expected to intervene on behalf of the bride and fight off any former boyfriends of the bride who attempted to ruin her wedding day or steal her dowry.
These gold coins can be seen in just about any Latin American Christian wedding ceremony but it undoubtedly comes from Spain.
The custom of presenting thirteen gold coins to the bride and groom in an ornate box can be traced back to Rome and Spain. Arras means “earnest money” in Spanish and is the money presented from the groom’s family to the bride’s.
The customary wedding cake wasn’t always so romantic or delightful.
According to research, ancient Romans would require a groom to take a bite of bread at their wedding and crumble the remains on the bride’s head for good luck. “Fun” ensued when guests were prompted to then rush to her feet and pick up whatever bread crumbs they could find so that they too could have a bit of good luck. These days, the modern western approach to desserts and weddings has seen many cultures opt for actual desserts and cake for the celebrations of a couple’s wedding.
The money dance is an event that occurs in many cultures rooted in Latin America, though the exact origins of it are unknown. During a money dance, guests will give money in a chance to dance with the bride. Often times, the money given to the bride and groom is used to help set them up for a future or for just a little extra cash on their honeymoon. While no origins of the dance are known, it might be of interest to some that the tradition is common among the Yoruba and Igbo people of Nigeria.
At one time, red was actually the color du jour for brides at weddings. While some had actually worn white for their weddings, it was not until Queen Victoria rocked a white gown for her wedding that white became the color most Western brides would opt for.
The tradition of wedding rings can be traced back 6,000 years ago to ancient Egypt. At the time, couples exchanged braided rings made of reeds and hemp in a gesture that symbolized eternal love and commitment. Ancient Egyptians had a belief that the left hand had a vein that was connected directly to the heart and as a result started the tradition of wearing wedding rings on the left hand (awww!). Clearly, the custom caught on and spread because the exchange of rings is one done throughout the world. In Latin America, this is no different. Today, couples all over Latin America wear rings and in Brazil and Mexico, couples often wear engagement rings (not just the bride!).