Cultural Customs And Traditions In The Rites Of Marriage

The Mantilla

This wedding Mantilla is used to symbolize the unification of the couple. The shoulders of the bride and groom are covered with a mantilla, a type of shawl made of tulle or lace. Normally this is done after they have exchanged their marriage vows. The mantilla is a sign of the marriage union.

The Rosary

This wedding rosary is used to symbolize the unification of the couple through prayer. The traditional belief is if the couple prays the rosary together every night their marriage will endure.

The wedding rosary is actually two individual and complete rosaries which meet and become one before the crucifix. It is placed by the mothers or someone designated by the bride and groom over the couple after they have exchanged vows usually as they kneel to receive communion.

Lighting the Unity Candle- Meaning two lives becoming one

Lighting the unity candle, though not part of the Catholic rite of marriage, is common in Catholic weddings. A unity candle is not required, and in some churches, it is not allowed.

It’s become another popular custom in today’s day age. The lighting of a “unity candle” symbolizes the marriage union. At the beginning of this ritual, the two small candles are lighted usually by the mothers or someone designated by the bride and groom and handed to the couple to light the larger candle. The unity candle normally has marriage symbols on it and is thick enough so that it melts slowly. The couple saves this candle as a remembrance of their marriage.

The Arras or Coins - (Tradition)

The giving of the Arras is also predominant in the Hispanic culture. The Arras is a small box containing thirteen either gold or silver coins. The thirteen coins represent Christ and His twelve Apostles. The groom presents the Arras to the bride after the vows have been exchanged as a symbol of his readiness to provide financial support in their married life. This also signifies good financial stewardship of the household. When the groom gives the coins to the bride she promises to use them wisely.

In these more modern times of two people often contributing financially to the household this custom still reflects the religious intent of a united couple managing finances through prayer.

all symbolize the “Marriage Union of the couple”; Therefore only one of these symbols should be used.

Flowers For The Virgin

The custom of offering a bouquet of flowers to the Virgin is a way to identify with her virginity as with her role as mother. This custom usually takes place after communion. The bride goes to the Virgin’s altar where she places the bouquet and spends a few moments in prayer. Unfortunately the Statue of the Virgin is located in the foyer of our church posing many practical difficulties to carry out this custom.