Chapter 3 considers the encounter between traditional indigenous practices and Christian marriage in colonial highland Mexico. The first section examines differing nuptial concepts and ceremonies of indigenous groups and Spaniards, and considers ecclesiastics’ attempts to promote indissoluble, monogamous Christian marriage as a cornerstone of the broader evangelization project. Special attention is given to how Spanish efforts to eradicate native practices of serial monogamy, polygyny, and divorce altered indigenous concepts and customs. The second part of the chapter examines how marriages were arranged and celebrated. It reconstructs indigenous weddings and traces the development of local native-Christian ceremonies, which incorporated some aspects of traditional rituals but significantly altered others. The chapter considers how the marriage encounter in colonial Mexico engendered conflict, compromise, and the creation of new practices.
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