Despite infusing a touch of modernity and Western influences to their traditions, most Filipinos still adhere to their old and superstitious customs, when it comes to weddings. Every Filipino couple knows that these superstitious practices are just folk beliefs, and have no logical and scientific definitions.
Yet, they practice them, and hope that these practices can help them create a happy fruitful marriage. Besides, there is no harm in trying, as most Filipino couples would say.
In the Philippines, a wedding not only unites the couple, but it also merges the families of the parties involved. Prior to the wedding, the fiancé together with their elder relatives and parents have to pay a visit to other partner’s family, to arrange the wedding. Basically, this introduces them as well as their family to their partner’s siblings and parents. Furthermore, it lightens the atmosphere and wedding preparations between the two families. For most Filipinos, this tradition is called “pamanhikan”.
On this occasion, the blueprint of the wedding is made known or drawn by the visiting family. For most Filipinos, this occasion can be very nerve-racking, especially if it is their first time meeting the other family. For the most part, the visiting fiance and their family would offer gifts and traditional Filipino dishes to the partner’s family. Experience the taste of Cebu Lechon, the star in every Filipino feast, including wedding receptions.
The fiancé must show their worth to the partner’s (by tradition girl’s) family through paninilbihan, an ancient tradition where the partner attends to several daunting and challenging chores for the other partner and their family. While modern Filipinos believe this tradition is long forgotten, there are still some (especially the ones who live in rural provinces) who practice paninilbihan.
In this tradition, the man (as said in tradition, but partner applies) has to perform a variety of chores in the other partner’s household, from laundry and cooking to buying grocery supplies. To get the approval of the partner’s family, the tasked partner has to do everything extraordinarily well. What’s more, they must be able to show they are responsible and reliable.
In most cases, the groom (usually, or partner) assumes all the expenses in the wedding, including ceremony, decorations, catering or food preparation, rings, clothes and others. However, today’s Filipina (women, but not only) prefers to share the expenses.
During the eve of the wedding, the soon-to-be bride (partner) is forbidden from seeing their fiancé. Likewise, they are not allowed to try out their wedding gown or dress (if there is one). According to the older Filipinos, failure to follow these practices could bring bad luck to the marriage. Furthermore, they believe that failure to abide to these traditions could prevent the wedding from happening.
To avoid bad luck, every Filipino groom (one of the partners) is required to arrive at the church or wedding venue before their other partner.
In a Filipino wedding, the sponsors and guests are advised not to offer gifts that include knives and other sharp pointed objects. For most Filipinos, they believe gifts that involve sharp objects can cause problems to the married couple. As a matter of fact, some of them believe that these gifts can lead to a fruitless or broken marriage. A chamberpot (arinola in their native tongue), on the contrary, is an ideal wedding gift, as it believed to be a lucky charm to newlyweds.
A wedding reception in the Philippines is a colorful and blissful occasion that involves more than a hundred guests. From the couple’s childhood friends to their relatives, nearly everyone the wedded couple knows is invited in their wedding reception. What’s more, the wedding reception is usually packed with fun-filled activities and delicious Filipino dishes, such as Lechon, pancit, and a whole lot more.
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