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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 13, March 30, 2008, Article 24

ARRAS TOKENS DEFINED

In last week's preview of upcoming Whitman numismatic books,
I asked about a term mentioned in Katie Jaeger's new Guide
Book of United States Tokens and Medals: Arras tokens. Pete
Smith writes: "Arras tokens are used in Mexican wedding ceremonies.
A group of 13 tokens is given by the groom to the bride as a symbol
of his ability to provide for her. They are also used in some
other countries. Sometimes they are called 'wedding souvenirs.' "

Ralf W. Boepple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "Arras tokens are
part of a Spanish or Hispanic wedding tradition. The groom
presents 13 coins or tokens to his bride during the wedding
ceremony. The tokens are blessed by the priest. They are handed
over to the bride as a symbol of the groom's intention to provide
for her well-being and are accepted by her as a symbol of her
trust in his pledge. I assume the number 13 stands for Jesus Christ
and the 12 apostles, not for the bad luck usually associated with
this number.

"Arras are traditionally made of gold, which means most arras
are gilded. Out of pure curiosity, I once asked around among my
Mexican wife's friends (they found it quite funny that anybody
would actually be interested in these details. I guess, they
translated my explanation that I'm a 'numismatist' with 'crazy,
but harmless') .They described their arras to be tokens with
religious motives, depicting praying hands or the pope. In one
instance, they were gilded five centavo coins from Guatemala.
My mother-in-law's arras were lost in a robbery, but she
remembered them to have been the tiny 2 pesos gold coins the
country produced in the 1940s.
Must have been quite some dowry at that time."

 PREVIEW OF UPCOMING WHITMAN NUMISMATIC BOOKS
 esylum_v11n12a04.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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