Rituals that Say “I Love You”

By certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®  Marcia Almeida, Celebrant Foundation Board Member

In the melting pot of our culture, ritual makers, like myself, consistently work with couples of different backgrounds and therefore the ritual and the message of the ceremony must be respectful to more than one culture and the meaning that it will express must also represent their individuality and identity.  Sometimes just to say “I love you” in Spanish or Portuguese is not as simple as it may seem, because a couple may have been saying “Te quiero” to each other but h ave never expressed “Te amo,” which carries a more profound romantic meaning.  And “Te amo” may be best expressed without any words at all.

Weddings and renewal of vows ceremonies offer an array of rich and meaningful rituals that can be employed to say “Te amo.” The Binding of the Hands, The Cord of Infinity, and The Sharing of the Wine are just a few. Others, like the Unity Candle, represent generations or blended families coming together.  On their anniversary, a couple can once again light their marriage candle as a remembrance of their special day to rekindle and thereby reinstate the intentions of their wedding day. But what about the dead of winter? In the midst of the cold and frost of February, it may be difficult to imagine that Spring and rebirth is near, but this can be a perfect time to create a new tradition to share with your family and friends, a ritual for love, growth, and hope.  One wonderful way to do this is a tre e planting ceremony. For your ceremony you may select a tree that is meaningful to you, keeping in mind your geographical location.  Dig the hole before the ceremony, select a poem or two to be read during the planting or seeding, and have everyone silently state their intentions as they pour dirt or sprinkle water on the freshly planted.  It does not matter what those intentions are because this is a moment to celebrate life with love, hope and new growth for everyone. So feel free to express yourself by saying “Te amo” in Spanish or “Agape mou” in Greek, either to a loved one or to the beaconing of a new season that awaits you.

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