Arras in marriage: what are they?

Weddings are full of symbols that represent promises, desires, union and surrender. One of them is the arras, considered as a representation of the material and spiritual prosperity of the couple.

The arras are full of feelings and meanings that go beyond the simple act of handing over some coins. Through the arras the man transfers his riches to the woman and she returns those dávidas. In addition, the realization of this act receives the priestly blessing of union and offspring.

Just as the ring symbolizes the covenant, the arras represent the act of sharing everything henceforth. “Mine is yours and yours is mine.” Prosperity is shared. They are also a desire for abundance for the future.

What are the arras?

The arras represent the material union of the couple. “What’s yours is mine and mine is yours”.

The arras They are thirteen coins, 12 gold and one silver, which a child brings to the altar in a basket or tray. After the ceremony of the rings, the godparents give them to the groom so that he gives them to the bride.

They are usually a gift from the wedding godmother to the groom, but this is a more modern tradition.

There are also those who look for symbols other than coins, like jewelry, flowers or a candle. In some cases couples choose coins from a different country that has a special meaning for them, either because their family origins are there or they will live there in the future.

Arrests can also be delivered in civil marriages, although, in this case, without the blessing of a priest.

How is the delivery of the arras?

After the exchange of rings, the priest blesses the arras and the groom hands them to the bride with these words: “Receive these arras as a pledge of God’s blessing and sign of the goods that we are going to share.”

Later the bride gives them to the groom with the same words and, finally, the priest blesses the couple and their assets.

The distant origin of the arras

The word arras has a long path of evolution that begins in the Paleolithic age of the Syrians. At that time, 1400 BC, the “Erabatu” consisted of the tax rates paid by families. The word evolved into the Greek «Arrabón», which was a pledge that was left as a guarantee in purchases.

In the epoch of the Roman empire they knew it initially like “Arrhabo”. In the text of Plautus, in the second century BC, Arrhabo was a promise of payment that was also deposited as collateral. Later Gayo Plinio, procurator of Rome 70 to 72 AD, already used the word Arra, when referring to business guarantees.

Also in ancient Rome the word Arrabón it was used in the slang of pimps, to name the payment they received in exchange for the favors of the prostitutes who were under their control.

The earnest in the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, the marriage was signed as a purchase-sale providing a dowry.

The arra remained as a commercial term during the high Middle Ages in the Spain of the Visigoths. Then the term was used in the purchase and sale contracts to name the deposit that the buyer left as a guarantee prior to the purchase.

Within those commercial contracts were also those that were made between the father of the bride and the groom for the transfer of the daughter to her future husband.

And that is that at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the marriage was a legal-commercial agreement embodied in a contract. The father of the bride agreed to cede the custody of his daughter to the suitor in exchange for the delivery of a dowry.

That document is called Desponsiato (from which the word betrothal emerged). Parallel, the Arras Act was signed specifying the assets that were transferred to the bride. This was done without the consent of the woman, usually a minor. Many times the future spouses did not know each other either.

Long after the contract of Desponsiato and the Act of Arras, when the woman reached the age of procreation, the celebrations of the Weddings were celebrated. Over time this ceremony became a religious act thanks to the influence of the church. At that time the arras were kept as part of the tradition.

The religious origin of the Arras

In the tradition of the Catholic Church, the arras come from the Old Testament. Abraham sent Rebekah cups of gold, dresses and a few Golden Racks (earrings), as a sign of the marriage he would contract with his son Isaac, according to Genesis.

Therefore, at the wedding the priest says: “God omnipresent that you ordered Abraham, your servant, to dedicate the earnest to Isaac and Rebekah as a sign of holy matrimony.”

Why are 13 arras

The origin of the 13 arras is not clear. The “Primer of Prelates and Priests” of the 19th century says that the number is implied in the Old Testament. The explanation is that Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, had 12 children who founded the 12 tribes of Israel. Therefore, 13 is 12 plus one, which is God.

Others believe that it comes from the Arab tradition. Is one coin for each month of the year, plus one bronze for the poor to distribute the abundance.

Choose your arras well

Despite the tradition, you can also choose a more personal and representative option of your values.

Now that you know everything about the arras, you already know that they are a very important part of a wedding. Because scan them well and give them a special meaning. Most jewelry stores have a variety of types, but you can also be original and represent your values.

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