What Does the Arras Symbolize in Wedding Ceremonies?

Have you ever attended a wedding ceremony and noticed a peculiar object draped above the altar? That’s the Arras, also known as Las Arras or the wedding coins. These tiny tokens have a significant role in the wedding customs and traditions in various cultures across the globe. But what do the Arras symbolize? Allow me to explore.

In most cultures, the Arras consists of thirteen coins, each of them representing values such as faith, trust, love, fertility, and more. During the nuptials, the coins are presented to the couple by family members or sponsors and exchanged between the partners. This act is not just a means to celebrate the union, but it is said to bring good fortune as well.

Despite the cultural and religious differences, the Arras remains a symbol of trust, partnership, and unity. It represents the hope and promise of a prosperous future filled with love, blessings, and abundance. So the next time you attend a wedding ceremony, look up and notice the Arras hanging above, and remember that it’s not just an object; it’s a representation of the love shared between two individuals.

History of Arras as a Wedding Tradition

The arras is a wedding tradition that has been around for centuries, with its roots tracing back to ancient Rome. In the Roman culture, the groom would give the bride a gift of a small coin, which represented the dower or a pledge of his commitment to support her. In Spain, the arras was introduced in the 13th century as a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

The arras tradition was then brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards during their colonization period in the 16th century. Since then, the arras has become an integral part of Filipino wedding customs and traditions, with the 13 coins representing various values and blessings for the couple’s married life.

  • The 13 coins represent Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples, signifying the couple’s commitment to Christianity and their devotion to the Christian faith.
  • The arras also symbolize the groom’s willingness to provide for his bride and their future family. The coins represent his promise to support his wife financially, ensuring that they will never be in want.
  • The arras also represent the bride’s trust in her partner’s ability to provide for and protect their home and family. The coins signify her confidence that he will be a good provider and protector for their married life.

These 13 coins are usually arranged in a special silver or gold basket, where the groom takes it from and places each coin in the bride’s hands while reciting a vow or a promise. The bride then returns the coins to the groom, symbolizing their commitment to share their resources and build a future together.

The arras is one of the most cherished Filipino wedding traditions, as it represents the couple’s commitment to each other and their future together. It is a beautiful reminder that marriage is not only a union of two individuals but also a partnership of two hearts and minds that are willing to support and care for each other throughout their lives.

Arras Coin Number Biblical Meaning Symbolic Meaning
1 Unity The unity between the couple, their families, and God.
2 Strength The couple’s promise to support and strengthen each other throughout their married life.
3 Commitment The couple’s pledge to remain committed to each other and their marriage through good and bad times.
4 Wisdom The couples’ responsibility to use their resources wisely and to build a home filled with wisdom, love, and happiness.
5 Love The couple’s promise to love each other unconditionally and without reservation.
6 Trust The couple’s trust in each other’s commitment, loyalty, and faithfulness to their marriage.
7 Fertility The couple’s promise to accept and care for their future children as a gift from God.
8 Harmony The couple’s promise to strive for peace and harmony in their home and marriage.
9 Blessings The couple’s prayer for blessings and abundance in their married life.
10 Community The couple’s commitment to serve their community and to be an example of love and commitment.
11 Wholeness The couple’s promise to support each other in their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
12 Humility The couple’s promise to be humble and to seek forgiveness whenever they wrong each other.
13 Providence The couple’s trust in God’s provision and His faithfulness to their marriage life.

The arras tradition is a heartfelt expression of hope, trust, and commitment to a lifetime of love, happiness, and shared blessings. It is a reminder that marriage is not only a legal union but also a spiritual and symbolic bond that binds two souls together in a lifelong journey of faith, hope, and love.

The significance of arras in Hispanic culture

The arras, or wedding coins, have a long-standing tradition in Hispanic culture. These coins symbolize the groom’s pledge to support his bride, and the bride’s acceptance symbolizes her trust in her husband. They are commonly used in weddings throughout Latin America, Spain, and the Philippines.

  • Number 2:
  • The arras usually come in a set of thirteen, each with a different design. The number thirteen represents Jesus and his twelve apostles. The use of a set of thirteen coins signifies the couple’s spiritual union and commitment to their faith. Additionally, the number thirteen is considered to be lucky in Hispanic culture, which is why it is so commonly used in weddings.

  • Other meanings:
  • Aside from their religious significance, the arras also hold financial significance. They are seen as a representation of the couple’s joint finances and their ability to work together to manage their finances once they are married. The coins are usually given to the bride by the groom’s parents, who are passing on their wealth and financial support to the newlyweds.

  • Legacy:
  • The tradition of using arras in weddings has been passed down through generations of Hispanic families. It is a way of honoring their cultural heritage and keeping their traditions alive. Many couples choose to incorporate the arras into their weddings as a way of celebrating their culture and family history.

How arras are used in weddings

Arras are typically presented to the bride during the wedding ceremony as a part of the vows. The groom will usually hold them in a special container, such as a decorative box or a bag, and present them to the bride after she says her vows. The bride will then take the coins and give them to the priest or officiant, who will bless them and return them to the bride. The bride will then place the coins back into the groom’s hands, symbolizing their unity and commitment to one another.

Country Different Meanings to Arras
Mexico The couple’s ability to support one another financially.
Spain The groom’s promise to provide for the bride and the bride’s promise to be a good steward of their wealth.
Philippines The couple’s financial partnership and the sharing of their financial and material goods.

After the wedding ceremony, the arras are typically kept by the couple as a symbol of their commitment to one another. Some couples choose to display the coins in a special frame or container as a reminder of their wedding day. Others pass the arras down to their children or grandchildren as a family heirloom.

Arras as a Symbol of the Unity of the Couple

The arras, also known as unity coins, are a traditional part of Hispanic wedding ceremonies. They serve as a beautiful symbol of the couple’s commitment to the unity of their future life together. Here, we’ll explore the significance of the arras in the unity of the couple, the history of arras, and different ways of incorporating arras in your wedding day plans.

  • Significance of the Arras in the Unity of the Couple
  • The arras serve as a beautiful symbol of the couple’s agreement to share their future together. The thirteen coins are blessed or prayed over by the priest or minister and later transferred from the groom to the bride, symbolically showing his acceptance of his role as provider and the support and care he will provide for his new wife. In return, she accepts the coins representing trust, respect and self-sufficiency as a couple, leaving them as a treasured reminder of their love and commitment to each other.

  • History of the Arras
  • The tradition of arras dates back to ancient Rome, where coins were broken into two pieces, and each partner carried one piece as a sign of commitment. In medieval times, Spanish noblemen would gift their brides with gold or silver coins, symbolizing wealth, power, and fortune to the marriage. This practice became more widespread over time and evolved into the tradition of the thirteen coins we see in Hispanic weddings today.

  • Different Ways of Incorporating Arras in Wedding Plans
  • There is no one right way to include arras in your wedding plans. Some couples opt for a more traditional ceremony, where the coins are presented in a small metal box called an arras holder. Some include special inscriptions or a personalized engraving on the coins, adding another layer of significance to the bond. Some couples even choose to give 13 different types of coins, with each representing a different blessing or wish for their future together.

    Whatever your choice, the arras serve as a reminder of the unity and commitment between the couple, and a cherished reminder of the love and memories you will share over the years to come.

The use of arras in religious wedding ceremonies

In religious wedding ceremonies, the exchange of arras plays a significant role in the marital union. The use of arras can be traced back to ancient Roman culture, where the groom would gift his bride with coins as a symbol of possessing a legal bond. Over time, this tradition has transformed into the use of arras, which are 13 coins that the groom presents to the bride during the wedding ceremony.

  • Number of coins: The most common number of coins used in the arras ritual today is 13. The number 13 represents prosperity and fertility in Hispanic culture and signifies that the couple will have a blessed life together.
  • Symbolism of coins: Each coin has a unique meaning, representing different aspects of the marriage. For example, the first coin is for the groom, showing his commitment to providing for the family. The second coin is for the bride, representing her trust in the groom. The rest of the coins represent love, harmony, happiness, wisdom, wealth, and other values important in the marital union.
  • The exchange: The groom presents the arras to the bride, and the bride then accepts them, symbolizing her trust in the groom’s commitment to the marriage. The bride then returns the arras to the groom, symbolizing her own commitment to the relationship and her trust that he will provide and care for their family.

In conclusion, the arras tradition remains an essential part of religious wedding ceremonies, particularly in Hispanic culture. The exchange of coins between the bride and groom symbolizes their commitment to the marriage, trust in one another, and values important to their union.

The use of arras in non-religious wedding ceremonies

While the arras tradition has religious roots, non-religious wedding ceremonies can also incorporate this practice as a meaningful addition to the ceremony. Couples who choose to include the arras exchange in their wedding ceremony do so to celebrate their culture, honor their personal values, and signify their trust and commitment to each other.

Non-religious couples can choose to incorporate variations of the arras tradition that hold personal meaning to them, such as using specific types of coins or adjusting the number to suit their preference. The arras tradition can be an excellent opportunity for couples to add a unique and meaningful touch to their wedding ceremony, whether they have religious convictions or not.

The history and meaning of arras in wedding ceremonies

The arras exchange has deep roots in symbolism and tradition. The use of coins in wedding ceremonies can be traced back to ancient Roman times, where the groom would gift his bride with coins as a symbol of possessing a legal bond. Over time, the tradition evolved, and different cultures adapted it in their wedding ceremonies.

The arras exchange is an essential practice in Hispanic culture, where it signifies the groom’s commitment to provide for the family, the bride’s trust in her husband, and the shared values and aspirations of the couple. The arras also symbolizes the couple’s commitment to trust and provide for one another and celebrate prosperity and fertility throughout their marriage.

Arras Coin Representation
First Coin Groom’s commitment to provide for the family
Second Coin Bride’s trust in the groom
Third Coin Shared values and aspirations of the couple
Fourth Coin Love and harmony in the marriage
Fifth Coin Happiness in the marriage
Sixth Coin Wisdom and understanding in the marriage
Seventh Coin Material wealth and prosperity

Thus, the history and meaning of arras in wedding ceremonies are a beautiful example of the marriage bond, trust, and shared values, which serve to signify the couple’s future together.

The number of arras used and their meaning

In traditional Hispanic culture, the exchange of arras during a wedding ceremony is a symbol of the couple’s commitment to one another. The arras, or coins, represent prosperity and are typically given in sets of 13 or 12 depending on the couple’s religion. However, the exchange of 5 arras is historically believed to hold significant symbolic meaning. Below are some interpretations of what the number 5 represents in the context of arras:

  • Health and well-being: In some cultures, the five arras represent the wish for the couple to have good health and for their families to prosper physically and financially.
  • Love and friendship: The five arras represent the five fingers on a hand, with each finger symbolizing a different quality that contributes to a healthy relationship, such as love, patience, understanding, respect, and loyalty.
  • Balance: The number five is often associated with finding balance and harmony in life. The use of five arras in a wedding ceremony is believed to represent the desire for the couple to have balance in their personal and professional lives.

These interpretations are just a few examples of how the number 5 can be interpreted in the context of the arras exchange. It’s important to remember that these meanings can vary depending on the couple and their cultural background.

In addition to their symbolic value, the physical appearance of the arras can also hold meaning. Traditionally, the coins are gold or silver and are engraved with the couples’ initials or significant dates, such as their wedding date. The engraving serves as a reminder of the couple’s commitment to one another and serves as a family heirloom passed down to future generations.

Number of Arras Meaning
13 represents Jesus and his 12 apostles
12 represent the 12 months of the year or the 12 zodiac signs
5 represents health, love, friendship, balance

Ultimately, the meaning of the arras exchange is a personal one between the couple and their families. Whether they choose to exchange 5, 12, or 13 arras, the symbolism behind the act remains the same: a commitment to building a strong and prosperous future together.

Different Materials Used to Make Arras and Their Meaning

The arras has been a significant part of traditional Hispanic weddings for centuries. It symbolizes the exchange of vows between the bride and groom and their commitment to each other. The arras typically consists of 13 gold or silver coins which are blessed by the priest during the wedding ceremony. However, these coins are not the only materials that can be used to make arras. Here are different materials and their symbolism:

  • Gold and Silver:
  • Gold and silver coins are the most common materials used to make arras. They represent wealth and prosperity, and the couple’s promise to support each other financially throughout their life together.

  • Other Metals:
  • Some couples may opt to use coins made of other metals, such as copper or brass, which may have sentimental value to them. These coins symbolize the importance of preserving family heirlooms and values.

  • Glass:
  • Glass arras may be used instead of metal coins to symbolize the fragile nature of the couple’s relationship. The breaking of one of the glass coins during the ceremony represents the breaking of any negative energy or obstacles that may hinder the couple’s future together.

  • Seashells:
  • Seashells are sometimes used to make arras to represent the couple’s deep spiritual connection. The shells symbolize the journey the couple has taken to get to this point and the path they will continue to travel together in life.

  • Stones:
  • Some couples may choose to use stones such as quartz or amethyst to make arras. These stones symbolize the strength and endurance of the couple’s relationship through both good times and bad.

  • Flowers:
  • Flowers are another material that can be used to make arras. They represent new beginnings, growth, and beauty, which the couple hopes to embody in their relationship.

The Number 6: Its Significance in Arras

While the arras typically consists of 13 coins, the number 6 is particularly significant. The coins are often presented in a specifically designed container, with 6 coins on each side. The number 6 symbolizes the harmony and balance between the husband and wife in their new life together. It represents the idea that each partner is responsible for three aspects of their relationship: faith, trust, and love. When the partners come together, they create a complete balance of the three aspects.

Number of Coins Meaning
1-5 Used primarily in trial marriages
6 The balance of faith, trust, and love between a couple
7-9 Symbolize good luck and blessings for the marriage
10-12 Represent interdependence and cooperation between the partners
13 Symbolizes Jesus and his 12 apostles, and the couple’s commitment to their faith

It is common for the coins to be circulated between the bride and groom’s hands during the ceremony, signifying the exchange of trust, confidence, and mutual support in their relationship. The presentation of the arras to the bride by the groom is a significant moment in the wedding ceremony, representing the groom’s commitment to provide for his wife and their future together.

Overall, the different materials and the number of coins used to make arras all have significant meaning in traditional Hispanic weddings. The arras represents the couple’s commitment to each other and their mutual trust, love, and faith, providing a beautiful, meaningful symbol of their new life together.

The exchange of arras as a legal contract in some cultures

Arras is a term used to describe a set of coins or tokens that are exchanged between two individuals during a wedding ceremony. The exchange of these tokens is a long-standing tradition in many cultures around the world. The primary purpose of this exchange is to symbolize a contract between the bride and groom that they will fulfill their duties in the marriage.

  • Historically, these tokens were made of gold or silver and were used as currency in the past.
  • Today, the coins or tokens are usually a symbolic gesture rather than a form of currency, and they are often kept as a family heirloom.
  • The specific number of coins or tokens exchanged varies depending on the culture and region.

One of the most interesting aspects of the arras tradition is the significance of the number 7.

In many cultures, 7 is considered a lucky number, representing perfection and completeness. This belief has led to the exchange of 7 coins or tokens during the wedding ceremony.

The 7 coins or tokens exchanged during the wedding ceremony have several meanings, including:

Meaning of the 7 Coins or Tokens Culture
Health Mexican
Welcoming God into the marriage Philippine
Religious Significance Spanish
Pledge of Support Venezuelan

The number 7 and the exchange of arras signify the importance of commitment and unity in marriage. The act of exchanging these tokens is a reminder of the promises and responsibilities that the couple has made to one another.

In conclusion, the exchange of arras is an integral part of many wedding ceremonies. The act of exchanging these tokens represents a legal contract and symbolizes the commitment and promises made between the couple. The use of 7 coins or tokens signifies luck, health, and religious significance in many cultures.

How the arras tradition has evolved over time

The arras tradition has been a part of many cultures and religions for centuries. Over time, the tradition has evolved to reflect the changing values and beliefs of society. Here are some key developments in the history of the arras:

  • Origins: The arras tradition dates back to ancient Greece, where it was customary to break a large coin in half and give each half to the bride and groom as a symbol of their union. This practice continued in ancient Rome, where it became known as arrhae. The use of a coin as a symbol eventually evolved into the use of other items, such as jewelry or keys.
  • Religious significance: In Christian wedding ceremonies, the arras are often blessed by a priest or minister, adding a religious dimension to the tradition. The arras are also seen as a symbol of God’s blessings on the couple’s future together.
  • Number of arras: The number of arras used in wedding ceremonies has varied throughout history and across different cultures. In some traditions, the arras consist of just one item, while in others, the number can be as high as 13 (which is considered lucky in some cultures).
  • The role of the arras in the ceremony: Originally, the arras were exchanged by the bride and groom as a symbol of their commitment to each other. Over time, the role of the arras has expanded to include blessings for fertility, wealth, and good fortune.
  • The use of coins: Today, coins are perhaps the most common types of arras used in modern wedding ceremonies. Some couples choose to use special or commemorative coins to add a personal touch to the tradition.
  • The number 8: In many Hispanic cultures, including Mexico and the Philippines, the arras tradition is closely associated with the number 8. This is because the Spanish word for eight (ocho) sounds similar to the Spanish word for prosperity (haciendo). The use of eight arras in the ceremony is seen as a way to bring prosperity and good fortune to the couple.

The significance of the number 8 in the arras tradition

In many Hispanic cultures, eight arras are used in the wedding ceremony to symbolize prosperity and good fortune. This tradition is rooted in the similarity between the Spanish words for eight and prosperity. The use of eight arras is seen as a way to ensure that the couple has a prosperous future together. In some cases, the arras may be engraved with the date of the wedding or other meaningful symbols to further personalize the tradition.

Arras Number Significance
1 A symbol of the couple’s unity and commitment to each other.
2 Representative of the couple’s roles as partners in life.
3 Symbolic of the past, present, and future of the couple’s relationship.
4 A reference to the four seasons and the cycles of life.
6 Associated with the six virtues of love: unity, purity, sincerity, loyalty, trust, and happiness.
8 A symbol of prosperity and good fortune for the couple’s future together.
10 Associated with the Ten Commandments and the couple’s commitment to their faith and each other.
12 A reference to the twelve apostles and a symbol of the couple’s faith and commitment.

The number 8 is also significant in other wedding traditions. In Chinese culture, eight is considered to be a lucky number because it sounds like the word for “prosperity.” In Hindu weddings, the bride and groom perform an eight-step ritual known as saat phere, which symbolizes their journey together through life.

Regional Variations of the Arras Tradition

The arras tradition is a significant part of many cultures and weddings around the world. The arras, also known as arrhae or unity coins, is a set of coins that is being exchanged between the bride and groom during the ceremony. The arras symbolizes the couple’s commitment to one another and their mutual responsibility in their new life together.

Regional variations exist in the arras tradition, and one of the significant differences is the number of coins used. In some cultures, the number of coins ranges from thirteen to forty, but the most popular number is nine.

  • Spanish-speaking countries: The nine coins represent the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The groom gives the coins to the bride, signifying his commitment to provide for her and their future family, while she accepts them, symbolizing her trust in his financial responsibility.
  • Poland: The arras consists of twelve coins, symbolizing the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The groom gives the coins to the bride, signifying his willingness to share his worldly possessions and to support her. The bride accepts them, signifying her management skills and responsibility for the household finances.
  • Philippines: The nine coins are called “arrhae,” which means “earnest money” or a down payment. The groom gives the coins to the bride, symbolizing his willingness to provide for her and their future family. The bride accepts them, signifying her commitment to the marriage and the trust that she has in her husband’s financial capability.

Although the number of coins varies in different cultures, the symbolism of the arras tradition remains the same. It represents the couple’s commitment to each other, mutual responsibility, love, trust, and support. The arras is a heartwarming and beautiful tradition that adds significance and meaning to a wedding ceremony.


Author Article Publication
Jessica The Symbolic Meaning of Wedding Arras The Culture Trip
Independent Catholic News The arras symbolism in Filipino weddings and its Christian roots Independent Catholic News

Unique ways people incorporate arras in modern weddings.

The arras, or wedding coins, is a popular tradition in Hispanic and Filipino cultures. It symbolizes the exchange of goods, prosperity, and mutual support between the couple. While the custom’s origins date back to ancient times, modern couples have found new and creative ways to incorporate it into their weddings. Here are some unique ideas:

  • Customize the coins: Some couples opt to personalize the arras by stamping their initials or wedding date on them. This adds a special touch and makes the coins into a cherished keepsake.
  • Create a display: The arras are often presented in a special ornate box, but how about creating a custom display with them? One idea is to hang the coins on a tree branch as a centerpiece or backdrop for the ceremony.
  • Involve loved ones: Have family members or close friends be the ones to present the arras to the couple during the ceremony. This not only adds a personal touch but also honors those who have been instrumental in the couple’s journey.

Another way to incorporate the arras into modern weddings is by having non-traditional coins. Some couples choose to use coins from different countries, such as the ones they collected during their travels. Other ideas include using tokens from a favorite arcade or game, or even using chocolate coins for a fun twist.

Lastly, if you’re interested in honoring tradition but don’t want to incorporate the actual coins, consider using a symbolic gesture. For example, you can pass the rings between each other ten times to symbolize the same principles as the arras.

Coin # Meaning Symbolism
1 Faith The couple’s trust and confidence in one another.
2 Hope The couple’s aspiration to achieve a harmonious and prosperous life together.
3 Love The couple’s commitment to one another and their passion for each other.
4 Commitment The couple’s promise to support one another, both emotionally and materially.
5 Peace The couple’s desire for a tranquil and stable life together.
6 Happiness The couple’s wish for joy, contentment, and laughter in their married life.
7 Harmony The couple’s commitment to resolving conflicts and maintaining unity within their relationship.
8 Wisdom The couple’s intention to make wise decisions and seek guidance throughout their marriage.
9 Wholeness The couple’s aim to complete one another and work toward a common goal.
10 Prosperity The couple’s assurance that they will support each other financially and create a stable future together.

While the arras tradition originated from Hispanic and Filipino cultures, modern couples from various backgrounds can incorporate its meaning and symbolism into their wedding ceremonies. Whether it’s customizing the coins, creating a display, or using non-traditional options, the arras can add a personal and unique touch to your special day.

FAQs: What Does the Arras Symbolize?

1. What is an arras?

An arras refers to a decorative piece of fabric or tapestry that is used as a decorative backdrop.

2. Where does the arras symbolize?

The arras is a symbol that has been used in various cultures for centuries, with different meanings depending on the context.

3. What does the arras symbolize in a wedding?

In a wedding ceremony, the arras symbolizes the groom’s promise to provide for the bride, and the bride’s trust in her husband’s ability to provide.

4. What does the arras entail in a religious ceremony?

In some religious ceremonies, the arras symbolizes the exchange of material goods or property between two individuals or families.

5. What does the arras mean in literature?

In literature, the arras is often used as a symbol of mystery or hidden secrets, as it can be used to conceal a person or object from view.

6. What materials are used to make an arras?

Traditionally, arras are made from silk, wool, or cotton, although modern versions may utilize synthetic fibers.

7. Can an arras be used for other purposes besides weddings?

Yes, arras can be used as decorative backdrops in various settings, including religious ceremonies, theatrical performances, and other special events.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to learn about the meaning and cultural significance of the arras symbol. We hope this FAQ has helped to shed some light on this timeless symbol and its various uses. Please visit again soon for more interesting articles and insights.