The Celebration of Marraiage

Cultural Group The Celebracion del Matrimonio film takes place in El Rito, Northern New Mexico in the summer of 1983, where the people who live there are Hispanic. The film talks a little bit about the history of the Hispanic people making their way to the Americas from Spain. The Hispanics came from Spain in the early 16th century to colonize the Indians and settle the land. In the film we are introduce to Cecilia Martinez and William Romero represent the modern age. Sr. Jose Romulo Martinez and Sra.

Presciliana Ortega represent the older generation, all of who share their personal stories through different times and generations. Ethnography/Ethnology In the film, Cecilia and William are engaged to be married. We are introduced to Cecilia being fitted for a wedding gown in a department store. Cecilia and William met in high school and dated for many years. When proposed to on several occasions, Cecilia turned William down. Her reasoning for doing so was to get herself more established in society. She mentions how she wanted to finish school, start a career, and to wait on having children.

Due to William’s persistence, Cecilia finally gave into to the marriage. Sr. Jose Romulo Martinez talks about the old tradition, whereas if a man wanted to get married, he would have to herd sheep for about a year to earn enough money for a wedding. When he raised enough funds, he would ask his parents to go and ask for the woman he wanted to marry hand in marriage. The groom’s parents along with the padrinos (godparents) would go over to the young lady’s house to converse and determine how well the two clans may get along.

As they would leave, they leave a letter which enclosed the actual request. Sra. Presciliana Ortega talks about when she got married, which was February 1912, at the age of fifteen. She was unsure about getting married, due to the extreme lack of the engaging process. Upon marriage Presciliana was presented with a dowry (inheritance) filled with her wedding gown, stockings, slippers, jewelry, clothes, etc. The bride and groom have never met until the day of their wedding. Customs on marriage began to change after WWII in Mexico. As the Hispanic people became more

Americanized, the old tradition of the asking for the bride began to dissipate. Cecilia was able to take her time to think about marriage without any direct parental influence, unlike Presciliana. Cecilia had the luxury of getting to know and familiarize herself with her future husband. Cecilia not presented with a dowry was able to pick out her own wedding gown, as compared to Presciliana who was given her gown in her dowry. William stuck to the old tradition and along with his family asked for Cecilia hand in marriage to her family.

Only William did not ask in the form of a letter. The young couple sits down with Fr. Jerome Martinez y Alire to inquire about old traditions. He tells the couple about a part of the ceremony where the groom gives his bride a box filled with gold and silver coins, this symbolizes respect and support which the bride will gladly accept. The gift giving of the box came from North Africa and moved into Spain with the moors. It later moved to the Americas with the Spaniards. William and Cecilia incorporate this old tradition in their ceremony, mirroring their ancestors. Reflexivity) Terminology Some of the terms that stuck out to me in the film are: age set and grade, reciprocity, enculturation, and participant observation. There was a big difference in the generations and how they interact with each other. An age set is a group of individuals born during a certain time span and age grade depends on the events people experience throughout their lifetime. In the film both women questioned getting married for two different reasons. Presciliana was young and unaware of her future with a man she did not know.

Cecilia wanted to finish her education and start a career. Back in the day, women were more incline on depending on the man to take care of her and be the bread winner. In modern times, women are looked upon as being equal to a man; giving women the choice to live her life as she pleases. Reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services. I noticed a lot of positive and balanced reciprocity between the bride and groom. Most of the positive reciprocity came from the groom and his family. The giving of the gold box at the wedding shows his love and support for his wife.

He is ensuring her and her family that she will be safe and secure. The family pins money to the newly wedded couple to wish them good fortune. The balanced reciprocity is between the bride and groom when they both make their vows to honor one another. Like the saying goes “Old habits die hard”, the change in time and traditions do not completely change culture. Traditions and values will continue to be handed down from generation to generation through enculturation. While viewing the film through participant observation, the Hispanic people are a proud group of people.

Unfazed by the cameraman, they seem happy and joyful through the ceremony. They dance and sing to celebrate the newlywed couple. The Barrel Model/ Function Analysis The environment provided them with beautiful green lands and mountains that they took over from the Indians as they attempted to colonize them. Churches were built to bring Christianity to the village. Weddings were highly regulated by church and Spanish laws. In their social structure the man is in charge, especially several years ago.

In the older photographs, the men appeared to be more stern and in control, where the women tended to be more submissive. Their superstructure consists of family and religion. Hispanic people highly value their loved ones and religion. The way they go about their everyday lives depend on their faith and how the treat each other. This also relates to the biological, instrumental and integrative needs of people. I believe that all three of the functions go hand in hand together within this particular case. The padrinos are instrumental to their society, they are just as important as the parents, if not more.

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