The Wedding Vase is an ancient vessel still used in traditional Native
American wedding ceremonies.
One spout of the vessel represents the
husband; the other, the wife. The looped handle represents the
achieved with marriage.
The space created within the loop represents the
couples’ own circle of life.
The wedding vase is a treasured and a sacred tradition among many
American Indian tribes, particularly the Navajo and Pueblo peoples.
These vases are not only symbolic in the ceremony performed just prior
the wedding itself, but also in the shape and construction of the
About a week or two before a couple is officially married, the groom’s
parents build the wedding vase from clay found in a local river bed and
ceremonially cleaned and filtered. Once the vessel has been properly
both families assemble. The parents give the young couple advice,
the wedding vase is filled with a special liquid. Traditionally it
would be a
nectar made by the medicine man, though many modern couples
choose to drink water or an herbal infused tea from the vase to
the blending of their lives.
First the groom offers his bride the vessel and she drinks from one
She then turns the wedding vase clockwise, and the groom then
from this same side. Each will then drink from the opposite side
the wedding vase, and then finally in the culmination of the
they will both drink from the wedding vase together. It is
said that if they
manage this feat without spilling a drop they will
always have a strong,
cooperative relationship. The vase then becomes a
cherished piece in their
household and great care is taken to make sure
it is never damaged.
The vessel itself is quite beautiful, and its design is an integral part
of its meaning.
The two spouts represent the couple; one the bride, the
other the groom.
The rounded base and shared reservoir of the vase
represent the couple’s
now-shared lives. The looped handle also
represents this unity in a more visible
and apparent way, much like a
wedding band is a visible reminder of the deeper,
shared by a husband and wife.The handle creates a circle
in the center
of the vase that represents the circle of life.
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