After so many years organizing destination weddings in Peru I thought this was the exact time to write about Peruvian ancestral weddings ceremonies, due to the high requests and all the questions I receive every day on this topic.
Andean marriages are spiritual unions between two people who love each other as a traditional wedding ceremony, but there is something more, a spiritual value added: the connection that these two people create with nature, I would rather say with the nature’s energies. The idea is to unify the couple with the “Pachamama”. This is a Quechua word which means Mother Earth. For those of you who are wondering what Quechua is here more information; however, I can briefly say that it is the indigenous language spoken in the Peruvian Andean region, which is still used today and to me is extremely charming and fascinating.
Pachamama is a powerful goddess of the Andean religion extremely worshiped by indigenous communities in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. Quoting villagers from Peruvian Andes: ‘Pachamama gives us life, she nourishes us throughout our existence on this earth and when we die, we go back to our Pachamama from where we will rise again.’ All this comes from the ancient Andean beliefs that there is reciprocity between the material world and the spiritual world. But let’s go back to Andean wedding ceremony…
The ceremony is performed by an Andean priest, called shaman, with the help of all the Pachamama energies and the union they are celebrating is not a common conjugal union between two people who love each other but it is much more important and it has a strong spiritual value. There are two essential components in an Andean wedding ceremony: the Pachamama, which represents the feminine side in the ceremony and the Apus, which represents the masculine side. The Apus is the great protector spirit coming from the mountains and it is the closets living ancestor to the Incas.
The couple during the ritual will give thanks to the Pachamama and will ask for blessings to the Apus, such as their intentions to follow the right path in their life, especially now that they have built a spiritual union. Usually the ceremony is accompanied by Andean music that contributes to create a mystical atmosphere and you will feel merged in the nature, feeling the energies of all the natural elements, such as water, air, fire and earth. So your compromise will not only be with the love of your life, but also with all the natural elements of the Andes. This union cannot be broken by human beings since it was performed before deities and Pachamama is its main witness.
The person in charge of the ceremony is the shaman. Before the ceremony you should undertake a cleansing ritual with incense and flowers to clean up your souls and get ready for this spiritual union. The wedding ceremony starts with the ritual of cocoa leaves reading. Cocoa leaves are sacred in the Andean culture and they symbolize the ancestral tradition of the Inca Empire as well as its vigorous resistance to the colonial domination. Then the shaman will start talking about life, the importance of the union and how man and woman come together to become one element.
Bride and groom should bring as a symbol of their union the following:
- men need to bring a lliclla (shawl) for his wife, which symbolize protection and express that he will always be with her;
- women need to bring one pair of sandals for her husband, symbolizing strength. Wherever he goes, his wife will always be with him. He will be the support of their family.
Then with a chumpi (Belt), calling the Apus and the elements of nature to witness this union, the shaman will unify the couple. This symbolize that man and woman should walk together thought the life path and respect each other before the Tayta Inti, which is the God father, the universe and the Pachamama.
During the wedding ceremony you can also have an offering to Pachamama, a special ritual performed by an Andean shaman where you express your gratitude to the Mother Earth. The aim of this ceremony is to find the right balance between you and the nature’s energies. In this way the Pachamam might protect your sacred union just sealed.
To strengthen the union you can also choose to have a special toast of honor called T’Inkay, which is a toast with an Andean beverage, offered to the sacred mountain to also protect the union from that moment on.
So, if you are looking into a very special way to strengthen your union this is an awesome option. For more information just drop me a comment and I will be happy to help you. We can work together to make your wedding day very special for you and your loved one.