Esposo: (nombre de la esposa)recibe estas arras como prenda del cuidado que tendre de que no falte lo necesario en nuestro hogar.
Groom: (Name of the Bride) Take these coins as a guarantee of the care I will have to make sure that everything necessary will be not be missing from our home.
Esposa: Yo las recibo en senal del cuidado que tendre de que todo se aproveche en nuestro hogar.
Bride: I receive these coins as a sign of the care I will have to make sure that everything is taken advantage of in our home.
The thirteen coins which are called arras are exchanged between the bride and groom during the recitation of the promises shown above. The first twelve coins represent each month of the year and the last or thirteenth coin represents the poor. This exchange of coins is only performed during marriage ceremonies in Catholic Churches specifically those in Mexico and has recently appeared in the U.S. due to the large amount of immigrants arriving from south of the border.
Veronica told me that she believes the exchange of the coins signify the financial responsibilities both share. She also believes the tradition is carried on because it helps make the couple conscious of the economic hardships they might face. She herself performed this exchange during her wedding in the late 1980s in Mexico.
I knew about this tradition, but I was never aware of what the act represented. I had an idea that it was related to money, but did not know much else. I do agree with Veronicas interpretation of what the coins represent and the purpose they serve. I feel as though this tradition is slowly disappearing in the U.S. especially because it is only performed when requested by the bride or groom, and because religious wedding have become less popular.
Williams, Norma. The Mexican American Family: Tradition and Change. New York: General Hall, 1990. p.31