Wedding Customs in Nicaragua, Tradition, Culture
Since the majority of Nicaraguan’s are members of the Catholic faith, the majority of those who choose to get wed do so in accordance with the catholic religion. Just as in other countries, the bride and groom can choose to have just a wedding ceremony or they can have a wedding ceremony with a Mass. The Mass is a popular option since Nicaraguan’s are generally fun-loving festive people who take delight in celebrating such happy occasions. Many feel that the Mass also gives the wedding couple an extra blessing so this Nicaraguan wedding custom is encouraged.
Catholic guests will often file into the church, dipping the fingertips of their right hand into the Holy water and making the sign of the cross before being seated by the usher. Non-catholic guests are not required to do this. Once everyone is seated, the bride enters the church and takes her place next to the groom’s side. The priest greets the young couple as well as their guests and says an opening prayer. This is usually followed by a few readings and more prayers during which guests may kneel or stand depending on the custom in that area. Certain selected passages are read from both the Old and New Testaments and there is a Gospel reading. The bride and groom select the readings and songs and these may be read by either the priest or an honored member of the wedding party.
After this, a sermon is given which focuses on the rules of marriage. The vows are exchanged and then the wedding rings are also exchanged. The best man will usually give the ring to the priest who blesses it before returning it to the groom who places it on his bride’s finger. Brides sometimes use the opportunity to honor the Virgin Mary by placing roses in front of her statue.
After the rings are exchanged, the Prayer of the Faithful is said. This is usually followed by a Mass where the Liturgy of the Eucharist is said. People may bring gifts of wine and bread to the alter before the priest offer a Nuptial Blessing. A Communion is served and all baptized Catholics present participate. Once the ceremony is completed, the priest introduces the newly wed couple and they are applauded before making their way out the church.