Throughout Spain, Latin America and the Philippines as well as in U.S. Latino communities, the arras unity ceremony is an essential part of the wedding festivities.
As part of his vows to financially provide for his family, the groom symbolically presents his bride with 13 marriage coins. Although the meaning of the arras vary by culture, the intent is the same: to bless the union with good luck for a prosperous future. The symbolic gesture is also intended to communicate the couple’s trust in each other to share the responsibility of managing the household finances.
Ceremonial readings for las arras matrimoniales acknowledge the groom’s role as a provider and recognize the unwavering trust that must develop between a husband and wife in order to have a successful marriage.
The coins are presented to the groom by an honored padrinos or madrinas. Latino godparents play multiple roles in the wedding festivities, taking on the responsibility of organizing and paying for various parts of the ceremony. This includes purchasing the wedding lazo for the handfasting ceremony, the prayer pillow the couple knees upon and even the rings that are exchanged after the vows.
After the wedding, the arras become a family heirloom, so they are typically stored in ornate gift boxes or miniature chests that are plated with gold or silver and encrusted with crystals.
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