Mapuche marriage rites and traditions

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Evelyn Carpenter

Adrian Guto

More and more couples are revaluing ancestral traditions and, among them, Mapuche rituals stand out among the favorites when it comes to getting married.

What is the Mapuche ritual called? What customs can be incorporated into a modern-day wedding? Answer all your questions below.

What Mapuche marriage is like

The Mapuche marriage ceremony, which is still respected in some communities, consists of two stages: the abduction and the wedding.

The abduction

It is the previous step to the Mapuche marriage, the one known as Weñe Zomón It consists of the groom and a group of friends breaking into the bride's house to take her away, who is waiting for her fiancé.

Since it is an arranged abduction and part of a set-up, the men in the bride's house seem oblivious to the situation, while her mother, sisters and friends try unsuccessfully to defend her from the kidnappers.

Once abducted, the groom goes with the bride to her home, so that the father can decide whether or not the young woman is accepted. If she is accepted, the next morning the groom's father goes to the bride's father and announces the news.

At that time, then, they agree on the date of the wedding and the payment of dowries to the bride's family, usually in animals.

Originally, the Weñe Zomón arose when, for different reasons, a Mapuche couple believed that their parents would not accept the engagement, thus simulating an abduction to seal the union on a fait accompli, leaving their parents no choice but to arrange the wedding.

The wedding

Who leads the Mapuche marriage? The ceremony is called Wefún, which is presided over by a machi, who is the highest spiritual authority in the community.

Between branches of Canelo, and to the sound of melodies with Kultrún and Trutruka , The bride and groom stand in the middle of a circle, outdoors, surrounded by their family and friends.

And in front of them is the officiant, who will speak about the characteristics of both parties, in addition to giving them wise advice for married life.

According to the customs of the Mapuche people the party continues with a banquet in which wine and lamb are the protagonists.

But also in the Mapuche wedding, presents are given to the bride and groom and dances that are called Purrún In total, the party lasts approximately five hours.

How to honor Mapuche traditions

Karina Baumert Hair and Makeup

1. Through a ceremony in Mapudungun

Thanks to an agreement between the National Corporation for Indigenous Development (CONADI) and the Civil Registry Office, since 2010 it is possible to celebrate a marriage entirely in mapudungun Civilian officials are trained to preside over the ceremony and to understand Mapuche marriage rites.

However, the contracting parties must prove that both speak and understand Mapudungun To have your wedding in Mapudungun and celebrate your love in Mapuche, all you have to do is request it at the Civil Registry Office when you make an appointment for your wedding.

2. By details of the outfit

Whether you are getting married in a civil ceremony, in a church or in a symbolic ceremony, you can always integrate certain elements of the Mapuche costume to your wedding attire.

What are the customs of the Mapuche people? What garments could they incorporate?

The man, for example, may wear a cloak (makuñ), a waist sash (traruwe) or a headband (trarilonco), while the bride may add to her dress a shawl (ukulla) or a selection of silver ornaments, including earrings (chaway), a chain (mezella), a pin (sukull) or a chest ornament (trapelakucha). As for the hairstyle, the bride may also wear aheadband (trarilonco) and leaning towards a braided hairstyle.

But it is important for both of them to go into the customs of the Mapuche and know the meaning of each of the garments they wish to wear.

3. With an ancestral feast

Another way of honoring Mapuche traditions is to including typical dishes of its gastronomy to the wedding feast.

For example, offer empanadas de digüeñes with pebre mapuche for the cocktail.

For the main course, you can opt for a traditional charquicán, based on meat and vegetables, or a dish of sautéed pine nuts with merken.

While, for dessert, go for a buffet with murta kuchens, maqui cakes, catutos with honey or watermelon with toasted flour.

Finally, to take you can't miss calafate liquor or muday. The latter, which is prepared by fermenting cereal grains or seeds.


4. With native decoration

Since the Canelo is a sacred tree with a magical character. According to Mapuche traditions, integrate it as part of your wedding decoration.

For example, you can make an altar arch with Canelo leaves, set up your centerpieces with bouquets, or mark out paths with Canelo in small planters.

You could even give little bags with Canelo seeds as souvenirs to your guests.

5. Incorporating typical language phrases

Finally, they can also honor the Mapuche people, incorporating words or phrases in your language at different moments of the celebration.

Among other ideas, they can mark their seats at the presidential table with signs that say husband and wife in Mapudungun, i.e. füta and küre, respectively.

They can also resort to giant letters or illuminated letters reading "ayün", which means love in Mapudungun. .

Or, whether it's for welcome signs, table markers or minutes, you can always add frases en mapudungun de amor For example, "eymi engu ayiwküleken" (with you I am happy) or "fillantü pewkeyekeyu" (I love you every day), among other Mapuche words of love. Your guests will appreciate it!

You already know! When it comes to analyzing Mapuche customs, you can include several of them in your marriage, if the objective is to honor this native ethnic group. Whether or not you are Mapuche descendants, a marriage inspired by local roots will always be worthy of imitation.

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Evelyn Carpenter is the author of the best-selling book, All you need for your marriage. A Marriage guide. She has been married for over 25 years and has helped countless couples build successful marriages. Evelyn is a sought after speaker and relationship expert, and has been featured in various media outlets including Fox News, Huffington Post, and more.