Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Padrinos & Madrinas - A Hispanic Wedding Tradition

There is a lovely tradition among many Hispanic countries when it comes to the wedding. While marriage is a bond between two people, it is just as much about bringing two families together. Hispanic families are much more communal and participate much more in each other's lives than many cultures. Part of the tradition in a Hispanic wedding, Mexican in my case, is the idea of the Padrino and the Madrina.

Historically this would have been a spiritual, emotional, and relational guide for the couple. The couple's Godparents as it loosely translates, would also support the new couple throughout the engagement and early years of marriage. Think extreme best man & maid of honor. Today this idea has evolved.

When I was first introduced to this idea it was one of the strangest things I had ever heard of. I asked "So you really ask other people to pay for your wedding stuff?" I could not get the idea through my head and it sounded kind of rude to me. In truth, it is a great honor to be asked to be a Padrino and it is taken very seriously. Think Groomsmen and Bridesmaids except you aren't annoyed about the tux you have to rent or the dress you will never wear again, you are actually excited. Again, it is as if you have been asked to me the Best man or the Maid of Honor. This is big.

There are Padrinos for certain elements of the traditional Hispanic wedding mass. There is a processional of elements in the ceremony including a small pillow to kneel on, a lasso to join the couple, a rosary, the guest book and the unity coins. These are very traditional elements and we are not sure which we will be incorporating at this point. (We are not Catholic though he was raised as such. We will be having a more laid back ceremony performed by our pastor.)

I have been asked to be the Madrina of a couple things since Alex and I have been married. Two of Alex's sisters have had weddings in our seven years. In the first we purchased the wedding rings. In the second we purchased the bride's gown. After providing these I feel much more comfortable with how this all works and I look forward to incorporating my families into our ceremony like this.

It really does make it more personal this way! As I previously mentioned individuals in my family volunteered to help me make our wedding happen. By volunteering their services, time, and talents they have become my Madrinas and will forever be linked to my heart for their additions to my special day.

As I think about what needs to be done and who to ask I get a little nervous. All of my Madrinas so far are from my side of the family - the non Hispanic side! I will be asking for help with many more things in the coming months and while I look forward to it knowing that it is indeed an honor, it makes me nervous! There is still a language barrier between my husband's family and I so I automatically get over nervous about doing things the right way. As if I haven't been married to him seven years already!

Grascias Madrinas!


Veronica Brown said...

great post!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for this!!! So helpful, I am (black and Mexican) my fiance is Mexican (extremely traditional family) when his mom started asking me about Padrinos I felt ridiculous I had no idea!

Your blog is wonderful bty