Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/288

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FACE TO FACE WITH THE MEXICANS.

bridal outfit as well. But in some of the wealthier families parents furnish the greater part of the latter themselves, restricting the purchases of the groom elect to perhaps the bridal dresses, the jewels, and other accessories. An ivory-covered prayer-book is an indispensable offering from the groom. The bridal tour is one expense from which he is now exempt, but as facilities for travel increase, perhaps in the near future, this item may be added to his already long list of expenditures. I believe the event of matrimony is no less troublesome than the long and tedious courtship. The war of reform made three marriage ceremonies necessary. Two months before, the young people must register at the cathedral, giving date of birth, in what city or country, vocation, etc., whether widow or widower. After this, the priest registers the same at the civil office, and their intentions must be placed on a bulletin board outside the office for twenty days. For five Sundays the priest publishes the bans. After this, accompanied by the notary public, he goes to the house of the bride, where she is asked if she acts of her "own free will and accord," and other necessary questions are put with as much freedom as though the subject were a transfer of real estate. A few days prior to the church wedding, the judge of the court, accompanied by six witnesses, the priest being one, performs the civil marriage. The dress worn on this occasion is presented by the groom.

I witnessed a church wedding at "Santa Brigida," and the Mexican ceremony is a pretty one. The groom passed many coins through the hand of the bride, indicating that she is to handle and control the household funds. They knelt at the altar with lighted candles in their hands, emblematical of the Christian faith, and a silken scarf was placed around their shoulders, after which a silver cord was put around their necks, and the ceremony was complete.

An American who contracts marriage in Mexico, regardless of faith or creed, must have three ceremonies—two in Spanish, and one more in either English or Spanish. This is the invariable rule even when marrying his countrywoman. He must, besides, make public notice of his intention by having it announced on