An Aztec Wedding
Aztec society was very structured and established rules that regulated almost all aspects of life. Regarding marriage, a young Aztec boy was able to get married only after he reached the age of 20. Most of them got married between the ages of 20 and 22.
Marriage was arranged between families, which meant that the young couple had little say in the matter, as it was in most ancient societies. Of course there were some exceptions, and sometimes a young couple fell in love , and with the authorization of both families got married.
The first requirement to fulfill, in order to celebrate the matrimony, was that the young man had to complete his education and obtain permission from his teachers to leave school.
His family would have to offer a banquet for the teachers, in which they would ask for the necessary permission. They would have to prepare many dishes for this occasion including tamales and cacao or chocolate.
Afterwards, the old relatives of the groom, his father and the men of the neighborhood spoke to the educators while showing them an ax “that symbolizes the desire of this young man to cut the ties that bind him to you, since he wants in his heart to get married; take this ax and permit our son to be liberated.”
The teachers proceeded to accept the ax as a symbol of their consent and after delivering a sermon in which they admonished the young man to always obey the gods, to be honorable, to be a good provider for his wife and family and a brave warrior when at war, they left the house. ¡Obviously without any hard feelings!
The Young Bride
The parents of the groom carefully selected the bride for their son, requesting the advice of the most respected fortunetellers. The wizards would study the signs under which each of the chosen girls was born, and then suggest the ideal bride for him.
A couple of old women from the neighborhood called cihuatlanque, requested on behalf of the groom’s parents, permission from the girl’s family for the marriage to take place. Traditionally the first time they visited the family, the parents denied their consent. On the second visit, a couple of days later, and after a family council, their authorization was granted. Once again they feasted for several days, happy to have the two families joined by their children’s wedding.
The date for the ceremony was selected, once again by the fortunetellers, so the couple would have the best possible future together!