I admit my last few posts have been a bit cranky as I have shared frustrations with getting things done here in Mexico. Last week we had another experience getting plates for our second remolque (trailer). There was ‘a guy’, some payments, some copying and stapling and shuffling. Waiting. But enough of all that. It’s time to remind ourselves once again of all the things we love about Mexico. There are a lot.
This week we were excited to attend our first Mexican wedding and to celebrate with our friends Carmelo and Paolo. Carmelo is a young pastor at the church we attend in Bucerias. He leads a mission in the tiny village of Higuera Blanca every Tuesday and Saturday. Although it is mainly children who attend his programs he is committed to helping these children and to reaching out to their families. He is relentless and passionate and Paolo is his faithful partner in this hard work.
Carmelo has been dating Paolo for a year or two. When he first approached her dad to ask for his blessing to marry Paolo, Dad said “It is too soon – she is too young. Let’s wait a bit”. Carmelo respected this advice and waited until Dad gave him the green light. Immediately the engagement was on and now, just 4 months later, it is the wedding day of these two amazing young people, the boda.
My dates for the wedding – no surprise, it was 2 hours late getting started so I was glad I had good company to enjoy the beautiful day in the country
I love how Mexico embraces symbolic rituals within its fiestas and celebrations. Everything has beautiful meaning and even though this wedding looked very similar to a Canadian ceremony, there were a few things that I found very touching. In all life stages, Mexicans choose Padrinas to stand by them – at baptisms, graduations, quinceaneras (when girls turn 15) and at weddings. (See our post about when Grant and I were Grade 6 Padrinas). They’re like godparents. Carmelo and Paola had 5 different couples who performed a piece of the ceremony with them – a way of telling them “we’re with you – we’ve got your back.”
The first set of padrinas presented them with coins – symbolizing the hope that they would always be prosperous. The second couple wrapped a beautiful white lasso around them – signifying that they were now tied together with an unbreakable bond. The third padrinas presented them with their wedding rings – grownup ringbearers I guess. The fourth couple presented them with a new Bible – exhorting them to follow the path of God’s words. After Carmelo and Paola read their vows and were pronounced husband and wife, the fifth couple served them communion – Cena Santa. It was all beautiful and I have so much hope for these 2. I predict that they will be a life-changing team here in Mexico.
Note the lasso around Carmelo and Paolo in the bottom picture
While the newlyweds snuck off for photos, the guests dove into a candy bar with sweets and donuts and churros. And hot sauce on all of it. The groom’s dad, who operates a tiny restaurant in the dry river in Bucerias, had cooked up his specialty – birria and handmade tortillas. This is a delicious beef stew like dish with lots of Mexican spices. The only speeches were from the two fathers – giving their advice to this happy young couple. There were lots of tears. The throwing of the bouquet. Carmelo threw an apron to the guys – not sure what that is about. And then dancing. Lots of fun dancing. Not much different than a northern wedding except no chicken dance, no YMCA.
We snuck away around 10 or 11 and the party was going strong. Carmelo and Paola are heading to Cancun for their honeymoon and we couldn’t be happier for them. Every day we see so much need, so much brokenness, so much pain in this neighborhood – but today we celebrate a young couple that loves God, loves people, and really loves each other. Felicidades Carmelo and Paolo. We’re cheering you on as you start the journey!