NUPTIAL RITUAL OF THE AZTECS

Marriage, like all the ritual acts of the Aztecs, they followed well established rules. The proper age for the male was 22 years old, and for the female 17 or 18. The parents were the ones who concerted the marriage. The groom's parents solicited the bride. The first attempt was always to receive a negative answer as a sign of great dignity; in the second attempt the answer was postponed until the bride's answer was known. With the consent already received, the wedding date was set, and when the day came, the bride was conducted with great pomp between music and joy to the groom's house. Accompanied by his parents, the groom went to the door to receive his future bride with a censer in his hands and surrounded by people with lit up torches. After incensing each other, the groom took his bride by the hand and conducted her to the living room so the wedding could take place. The couple placed themselves in a new skillful embroidered straw mat and got close to the fire prepared with anticipation, afterwards the essential of the ceremony started. The priest tied the gowns of the couple together and while they were holding hands they made 7 turns around the fire burning incense, elevating emotional pleads to the gods and making gifts to each other.

After that came the banquet; the spouses fed each other sitting in the middle of the room. The guests placed themselves in contour to the distance. The guests could go out to dance in the yard when the very traditional alcoholic drink of the Aztecs, the pulque, had made its delighting effect.

The spouses were kept in the room for 4 days devoted to penitence, fast and praying to the gods. The priests prepared the beds; the groom's was ornamented with feathers and the bride's with a precious stone. The party ended with gifts for the guests. Maybe a ritual so beautiful could be a whim seemed as once in a lifetime experience, but among the Aztecs, especially among the noble class, polygamy was allowed.

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