Before we tell you about the amazing wedding in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico I will explain a little about the Nahuatl, the Mayan wedding ceremony. Maria helped us a lot to understand the symbolism and importance of the ceremony.
Seen from above, the site of the wedding forms a cross which is the Mayan symbol of cosmic quadruplicity, represented by The Four Bakabes who are the lords of the winds, in charge of the four cardinal points. The cardinal points begin with the East where the sun (Lak’in) rises and is represented by the colour red of the light. Next is the north (Xaman), region of cold winds and the polar star, represented by the colour white. Then is the west (Chik’in) where the sun sets in order to hide and run through the underworld in the form of a jaguar, to rise again in the form of a plumed serpent (K’u’uk’umkaan), and its colour is black. Last is the south (Nojol), a big hole which carries dark and silent space, and its colour is yellow representing death.
The rite is a traditional symbolic action that serves to introduce man to the scope of the sacred, K´aam Nikte´. Marriage in Mayan spirituality is considered a rite of passage which produces a change from the secular to the sacred. It has survived the bloody Spanish conquest, and is accessible today thanks to the Kuch kaab or Council of Mayan Elders and Priests. Bride and groom are escorted to the ceremony site and smudged by Copal (a sacred incense produced burning coal and this vegetal sort of incense in a copalero). Once the ceremony starts, the officiant blows the conch shell to the East, West, South, North and Up, Down and finally to the Center. The ceremony encompasses words, chants, drumming and offerings. At the end of the ceremony the bride and groom offer to Xchel and to the sea.
The shells of the sea snails are used as trumpets to call to the gods, to consecrate the site where the presence of Hunab K’uj, the Bakabes, the 13 heavenly gods, and the nine from the underworld are invoked, called to the ritual to be witnesses of the ceremony.
On the beach we saw Miguel and Christian in all of their traditional Mayan dress ready for our Nahautl. Beads on their ankles, huge feather headresses and animal skins draped across their chests. A mat lay in front of them on the beach and they were lighting the copal. The mat held their offerings and bamboo poles with ribbons floating in the breeze made the site of the wedding in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
We approached nervously with our offerings and my bouquet and were individually blessed. Miguel played the drums and conch while Christian blessed us by passing the smoke from the copal, produced by burning coal and sacred incense, over our bodies with a feather wand.
It was a very cleansing experience, I felt all of my anxieties and nerves wash away, the heat and the smoke drifted over me and I felt completely at peace. Alex was next to be blessed and the tension in his shoulders vanished and he looked relaxed and ready. Christian had asked if we would like to hear the ceremony in English so we could feel more involved than had it been completely in Mayan as we anticipated. We had asked for him to explain the ceremony to us and then to complete it in Mayan with the calling of the Gods to witness the ceremony.
We were asked to sit as he spoke of the Mayan traditions and how these have been passed down through his parents and grandparents. He spoke kindly of how if we had the opportunity to have children, should the child be a girl, that Alex will see me in her, in her smile, her wit (uh oh) and her actions and that he will then know me on another level and vica versa should we have a baby boy.
He told us he was happy for us and excited for us in our journey around the World and that the ceremony we were holding was just the beginning. We have commited to be with each other and love each other and this is where it begins. He told us how they opened their hearts to us and could feel our energy and love and were happy that they were able to be a part of our adventure.
Miguel blessed our offerings and we staggered over the rocks to place them into the water. We had been asked to bring things of meaning to us to offer to the Gods. We took a scarf that we had been gifted at the Nanaimo wedding as we felt it was a symbol of our unity, we took a porcelain star gifted to us by Alex’s Mum as it held us close to his family and a glass tortoise gifted to us by my Mum as that held us close to my family. We also offered our straw Christmas angel as a luck charm given to us for our travel, our angel to guide us. The Shamen blessed their offerings too over the smoke from the copal.
We were told that whilst we gave our offerings to Xchel and the sea to ask for the things we wanted. But we were told also to be prepared to receive what we asked for and to keep an eye open for it as there have been people have let it pass them by. He warned us of people who had asked for riches in food or help and suggested we think together, and ask together but in silence.
We (well, I…) placed the offerings on the water and wished away silently, hand in hand.
We returned to the beach to complete the ceremony by consecrating the site with the Shamen blowing the conch and playing a didgeridoo in each of the 7 directions and in complete harmony.
We thanked them profusely for making our wedding so special, there was no way we could have anticipated the depth, beauty and respect involved in the ceremony and it affected each of us deeply.
As always there is something we will take away. The Shaman told us that flowers are like a sponge, they soak up energy from all around them and that my bouquet will have soaked up all of the energy from the celebration. He told me to keep them somewhere until I am ready to pass on that energy, that love that has been shared between us on our special day.
After the ceremony we said Hi to the small crowd that had gathered on the beach to watch. We said our thanks to everyone who had come along and then escaped to stroll on the beach and take some pictures with Dean.
Once the adrenalin died down we grabbed some food and drink at the great restaurant on the beach with Dean and Maria. We talked about the wedding, gossiped and laughed and made plans for the weekend. Yet again, I think we have made friends that we will keep for life…we even half planned our Italian wedding for crying out loud hahah!
The thing we loved about the ceremony today was the spirituality. The connection with the Shaman and the Earth around them and the respect for the Gods of nature. As I’m sure alot of you know by now, we are not religious people but we do believe in belief.
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