Southwestern #Wedding Traditions—Part 3

The bridal vase is an ancient vessel still used in traditional Native American wedding ceremonies, especially among the Navajo and Pueblo tribes. One spout represents the husband; the other, the wife. The looped handle symbolizes marital unity.images13

A week or two before the couple is married, the groom’s parents build the wedding vase from clay found in a local river bed. Once the vessel has been fired, both families gather. Both sets of parents give their wisdom to the couple, and the wedding vase is traditionally filled with a nectar made by the medicine man. Many contemporary couples choose water or an herbal infused tea to represent the blending of their lives.

First the groom offers his bride the vessel and she drinks from one spout. She then turns the wedding vase clockwise, and the groom then drinks from this same side. Each will then drink from the opposite side of the wedding vase, and then finally in the culmination of the ceremony, they will both drink from the wedding vase together. It is said that if they manage this feat without spilling a drop they will always have a strong, cooperative relationship. The vase then becomes a cherished piece in their household and great care is taken to make sure it is never damaged.

A cherished tradition, the bridal jar is quite beautiful, and its design is an inherent component of its meaning. The rounded base and shared reservoir of the vase represent the couple’s now-shared lives. The looped handle, much like a wedding band, is a visible reminder of the deeper, spiritual connection shared by a husband and wife. The handle creates a circle in the center of the vase that represents the circle of life.

What is one of your favorite wedding traditions?

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