Today after our regular Spanish and ixil classes went to a small town call San Antonio, Aguas Calientes (hot water) about 20 minutes away from Antigua. We meet with two women who are part of an organization called ” Ixel.” All done by hand they create very typical Mayan clothes as well as others that are very colorful and vibrant. With the money they make through their art they support their community by making sure that kids have food, education and clothes.
As my eyes started to wander inside their shop I found myself very inspired and excited to see so many different designs in the fabrics. As part of their culture and as a way to identify what city a person is from they make each outfit differently compared to the neighbors from cities nearby. It amazes me the complexities that co-exist with the simplicity of their traditions.
The purpose of that day was to learn what a Mayan wedding is like. In the old times women who were single wore a piece of cloth called “Sute” on their shoulder as opposed to a married women who wore the Sute on their head. When a man saw a pretty lady wearing a Sute in their shoulder they would immediately still it from her and say I have your Sute and now you have to marry me. At the end of that night the man would go to the women’s house with his parents and talk to the family claiming that because he had the pretty lady Sute she had to marry him. At the end the family would accept and the pretty lady had to marry the man that stole her Sute.
Today women have a choice of whom to marry. “We need 4 volunteers 3 girls and 1 boy,” the woman who was conducting the Mayan wedding said. Laura, Margarite, Michael and I rasied our hands. Laura was the one who testified the wedding, while Margarite and Michael were the ones who were getting married. I was the mother and law. Usually, the couple used to wait 1 year before getting married because during that year Margarite the wife would make a Sute for me the mother in law. If I as the mother in law liked the Sute then I would approve Michael and Margarite’s marriage. Otherwise there was no marriage.
I must admit that I loved the Sute that Margarite did for me so we had their ceremony and Michael and Margarite got married. After their ceremony, during Margarite and Michael’s honeymoon Margarite muele café kills coffe by hand to his new husband Michael.