About the Film
Celebración del Matrimonio begins with an historical overview of Hispanic marriage customs, noting how they mirror customs in Spain, Mexico, and North Africa that were brought to the Southwest by the region's first colonists in 1598. Then in the village of El Rito the film follows the entire nuptial sequence - from betrothal through the grand celebration - and shows how it incorporates forms of cultural, artistic, and religious expression unique to the region. The beautifully restored Church of San Juan Nepomuceno, with its painted altar screen, retablos, and carved saints; the ritual of the marriage ceremony itself; and finally the entriega, sung to guitar accompaniment and welcoming the couple into the community, are all aspects of the wedding that reveal the essential values of the culture.
The perspectives of different generations—the viejos, who remember the old ways from their youth, and the bride and groom of 1983—offer insight into differences in ways of celebrating marriage in a traditional mode. The wedding forms a bridge between past and present, balancing tradition with change.
Margaret Hixon's other film—"Old Believers"—is also recommended.