Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/289

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FASTS AND FESTIVALS AND SOCIAL FORMS.

a bulletin board for twenty days. He may evade or escape the latter by the payment of a sum of money—it is said from $60 to $150; but in any event, he must have resided one month in the country. The three ceremonies consist of a contract of marriage—civil marriage, the only one recognized by law since 1858—and the church service, which is not compulsory with Americans, and may be celebrated in their own homes. The first two must take place before a judge, and four witnesses, at least, including the American Consul. The contract of marriage includes a statement of names, ages, lineage, business, and residence of the parties. The ceremony of the civil marriage—the legal one—is always in Spanish.

The length of time required for the completion of one of these marriage arrangements maybe from one or two days to three months, as the parties understand facilitating such matters. But once such a knot is tied, it would be a difficult task to have it loosened by even the expert fingers of a Chicago lawyer.

Weddings are not generally widely announced. Intimate friends are invited to the marriage in the church, and afterward participate in the festivities that follow at the house. After the wedded pair are established in their own home, they send cards which read:

"Tirso Calderon y Julia Hope

tienen el honor de participar á Vd. su enlace, y se ofrecen a sus ordenas en la casa, numero 6 a de la primera Providencia" ("have the honor to inform you of their marriage, and their house as above mentioned is at your service"). In other words, you are considered a friend of the newly-wedded pair, and they will be happy to see you in their house.

Cards announcing a birth are thus expressed:

"Tirso Calderon y Señora

tienen el gusto de participar á Vd. el nacimiento de su hijo, y lo ponon a sus ordenes" which means, in few words, that this gentleman and his wife have the pleasure of announcing the birth of their son, and place him "at your orders."