In the nearly 3 years since we’ve lived in San Juan del Río, we’ve been to five weddings. For the last two we were honored to have a part in the ceremonies. I guess that means we’re getting to know some young people in a deeper and more meaningful way. A couple Saturdays ago we presented Francisco and Gaby with their lasso. I don’t suppose most weddings in the U.S. come with a lasso so I’ll briefly explain this Mexican tradition.
First of all, what a lasso is not. It is not a rough length of rope used to capture livestock. Nor is it what I jokingly referred to among friends as a “noose.” The lasso is a silky (sometimes plastic-beaded), double-looped rope that is placed over the shoulders of the groom and the bride. As you may have guessed, it symbolizes the unity of their vows that tie them to each other. It’s a lovely element of the wedding ceremony, and they’ll keep that lasso along with the other symbols of their wedding (the family Bible, a set of golden coins, a set of pillows for kneeling on in prayer, the rings and the candles).
All of these things are purchased and presented by the people that were specially invited by the couple to present them. I recall mentioning this tradition to some visiting Americans recently and they were rather astonished that even the rings were picked out, purchased and presented to the couple by whomever was asked to do it (assuming they accepted the invitation which is expected).
Of course, from a bean counter’s perspective, I can tell you that I was relieved when Francisco and Gaby asked us to present the lasso. We did rings the wedding before and I wasn’t sure we could handle another set of rings in our budget! Yes, I know that’s terrible to say but it does get expensive. I don’t know if there are any other weddings on the horizon for 2008. Hmmm…maybe we can get the premarital counselors in our church to stretch their sessions out over a longer period of time…say 2 years? Hee-hee…just kidding!
Pray for Francisco and Gaby. He’s a young believer and unfortunately they already have a young daughter they’re raising. That’s part of an earlier story not found here on this blog. They’ve come a long way spiritually since then and surely God has graciously forgiven their sin.
They’re starting off married life with very little economically. They talked about fixing up a little house on a tiny plot of land they own…filled with old tires and lots of garbage to clear off. It just has two small rooms, no running water nor a bathroom. They seemed to not feel so embarrassed to share that with us when we told them about when we first got married and we stacked up a pile of blankets and sleeping bags to make a couch for our living room! Even the “rich gringos” don’t “have it all” to start out with.
So, if you’re ever invited to a Mexican wedding, perhaps you’ll notice these same traditions, maybe even be one of the special invitees who present one of these symbols. If you get to present the lasso, don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to throw it around a running target…at least, I hope not!