Friday, June 10, 2011

My Big Fat Mayan Wedding

Today everyone split into four different groups. Our group traveled two towns away to participate in a Mayan wedding demonstration at a textile/ weaving house in San Antonio. We learned that it's a tradition for single women in Guatemala to wear a "suter" (mayan woven blanket) on their shoulder. Traditionally, if a man wanted to marry a woman, all he had to do was grab her suter from her shoulder and tell her she was his (married women wear their suter on their heads). Once the couple was engaged, the bride-to-be had one year to weave her new mother in law a suter as a sign of respect. Because she had one year, the suter had to be absolutely beautiful. Also, it is impossible for two different people to weave a suter because the stitches wouldn't match up, so the bride had to make the entire thing herself. Her relative competency as a wife and mother would be judged on the beauty of the suter. Thankfully this practice no longer exists; women are allowed to choose their own husbands in San Antonio these days. After the breif mayan history lesson, some of the group got to participate in a "mock" wedding. Annie, Taylor, and Aubree were chosen to form the bridal party, while Sachin was chosen to be the groom. Annie ended up being the "important spiritual guide" (she had spent 12 hours praying on her knees before the ceremony), Taylor was the mother-in-law, and Aubree was the bride. Everyone got to wear traditional Mayan Traje (skirt, belt, top combination). Highlights included Taylor showering everyone in flower petals and the slightly awkward cheek peck wedding kiss. Afterward we got to watch one of the women weave on a traditional back-strap loom.

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