MARRIAGE AND WEDDING CUSTOMS OF DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS AND REGIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES

DIFFERENT MARRIAGE AND WEDDING CUSTOMS IN THE PHILIPPINES

There are more than fifty major tribes and ethnic groups in the Philippines, each with distinct, diverse and independent courtship and marriage customs and traditions. A marital union generally occurs within the same tribe. When one of the parties to a marriage comes from another tribe, a check is made with respect to the presence or absence of a peace pact between the two tribes involved. If such peace pact exists, well and good. Otherwise, no marriage occurs. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Many have common features. According to somewhat biased and Catholic-based Kasal.com: 1) Courtship are often non-existent; 2) A marital union is often addressed to a local god; 3) Marriage is generally within the same tribe; 4) Women of the tribe usually marry young; 5) They are generally monogamous; 6) Superstition plays a significant role in the realization of marriage; 7) Parental intervention always attends a marriage; 8) A marital union is always for and in consideration of a dowry; 9) Dowry is meant only for the bride-to-be and held by her parents for safekeeping; 10 ) Dowry is always arranged and delivered before a wedding; 11) Dowry casts some form of stigma; 12) A wedding takes place shortly after a dowry's negotiation; 13) The brunt of a wedding celebration's expenses usually falls upon the would-be groom's parents; 14) Lavish and ostentatious celebrations always characterize a marital union; 15) The consummation of the sexual act before the wedding ceremony is not subscribed to; 16) The sexual act is consummated on the wedding night; 17) The price of infidelity or changeable disposition is exacting; 18) Divorce disgraces the parties concerned, especially the women.

Traditional wedding dresses among peoples are woven in a combination of many colors peculiar to the region of the country. In many places a traditional costume, generally brightly colored, is assigned for the use of the bride only. Traditional bride attire among the Ifugao in the uplands and the Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao come in the variety of exotic colors, accented by heirloom beads, feathered headdresses and other wedding finery, depending on the tribe. [Source: Alvina, C. & Sta. Maria, F. 1987. Essays on Philippine Culture, kasal.com *^*]

Dowry systems also vary from group to group. The Ilongos dowry system, known as the hukot is a departure from the "you-name-it-and-we'll-pay-it -if-we-can-afford-to-but-we'll-ask-for-a-reduction-if-we-cannot" method of the other ethnic groups is what makes the Ilongo courtship and marriage practices distinct. The mechanics of the hukot starts with the offer of one peso, upping it every time with another peso--nothing more, nothing less--if this proved to be unacceptable, as it invariably does until the sum becomes sizeable enough to be acceptable. The acceptance terminates the negotiation. In a dowry consisting of, say, five hundred pesos, it can just be imagined how lengthy, rigorous and time-consuming this process is. It should, however, be noted that they are not after conserving time, as they are not wanting in it what with their existence being rural and rustic. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Requirements for Mixed Marriages in the Philippines

A foreign citizen who marries a Filipino needs to secure a clearance certificate from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office (at the Archbishop’s Office, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros). Before securing the clearance, you need to have the following documents: 1) New copies of Baptismal Certificates of both parties marked "For Marriage Purposes." 2) A copy of Certification of Freedom to Marry from the foreign citizen’s embassy. 3) A copy of the Marriage License or Marriage Certificate. 4) Military Clearance (if either party is member of the Armed Forces). 5) Wedding Banns — the Filipino party should publish wedding banns in his/her parish church. If the foreign citizen lives in the Philippines, he/she will also need to have wedding banns published in his/her parish. 6) If the foreign citizen lives abroad, he/she needs to obtain a certification from his/her parish that he/she is a parishioner of good standing. This is in lieu of the wedding bann. 7) Dispensation from the parish priest stating that the party is allowed to marry or has no marriage impediment. 8) If one party is widowed, a copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse. [Source: Gladys Pinky D. Tolete, kasal.com ***]

If one party is divorced or comes from an annulled marriage, the additional documents are required); 1) a declaration of nullity from a competent Catholic Marriage Tribunal or from the Bishop in charge of the residence of the party, to confirm that the said party is free to marry. ) For the non-divorced Catholic party: a certification that he/she is free to marry from his/her pastor, or have his/her baptismal certificate marked with "For Marriage Purposes" or have his/her wedding banns published in his/her parish. For the non-divorced non-Catholic party: certification from his/her parish that he/she has never been married and that he/she is free from any marriage impediment. ***

When a Filipino intends to marry a foreign citizen, it is likely that the latter practices a different religion. Hence, the Church has also set requirements for people of different faiths (these requirements also hold true for Filipinos of different religions). If one party is a non-Catholic Christian (i.e. Protestant, Iglesia ni Cristo, etc. ), the following documents are needed: 1) New copies of Baptismal Certificates of both parties marked "For Marriage Purposes."; 2) A certification from the Catholic party’s pastor declaring that he/she has never contracted any form of marriage and that he/she is free from any marriage impediment. The Catholic partner would also need to publish banns in his/her parish. 3) Marriage license or a marriage certificate if already civilly married. 4) If one party is widowed, a copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse. 5) A written permission for mixed marriage from the bishop to validate the celebration of marriage. ***

If one party is non-Christian or has no religion: 1) A new copy of baptismal certificate of the Catholic party marked "For Marriage Purposes." 2) Certification of freedom to marry from the Catholic party’s parish priest that he/she is free to marry or that he/she is free from any marriage impediment. Or, the Catholic party should have wedding banns published in his/her parish. 3) To make sure you do not forget anything, consult regularly with the priest of the church where you are getting married. 4) For the non-Christian, a certification from his/her embassy (if he/she is a foreigner) or from his/her country that he/she has never been married in any form and that there is no legal hindrance for his/her upcoming marriage. 5) Marriage license or marriage certificate. 6) Dispensation from the parish priest stating that the party is allowed to marry or has no marriage impediment. 7) A written permission from the bishop to validate the celebration of marriage. ***

Child Betrothal and Unusual Philippines Marriage Customs

The lagpitaw ((slingshot) or surprise marriage refers to Bicolano courtship and marriage practices. It is a kind of surprise marriage entered into between the parents of the would-be bridegroom and that of the bride-to-be. Utmost secrecy attends its sealing. The bride and the bridegroom come to know of their fate only when they are told to don their wedding attire for an appointment at the altar, come wedding day. Among the cultural minorities, it is the Bagjao(w) tribe that boasts of a similar practice. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

The early Isinays of Nueva Vizcaya were responsible for choosing the spouses of their children. This was called purung. The announcement of the betrothal was accompanied by a ritual wherein the guests would offer a prayer to the souls of the dead relatives of their host. After the prayers, food is served, and the announcement is revealed to everyone. The public announcement is done so that should the marriage not push through, the one who backed out shall shoulder all the purung's expenses. *^*

Child betrothal marriage traditions may still be practiced in Pampanga. Practiced mostly in olden times between good friends, it is promise of marriage that take place when the prospective bride and groom are just children. Sixteen or seventeen years later, the pledge is redeemed with the marital union of the two children. The children are told about the pledge only upon reaching marriageable age; they sometimes grow up together without knowing it. "Parental agreement" is sometimes the term applied to this pact. In the Chabacano tradition, however, a girl form the age of ten and upward already knows her life-partner since she is forewarned by her parents of the agreement. A pact like this can be discontinued when one of the betrothed dies or when the parents who entered into such pact, for some reason, severe their ties of friendship. Also, if one of the parents die, the pact may not be enforced. *^*

The Ilongo tradition with respect to child betrothal is a departure in that is done by offering a silver peso coin to a woman on the family way by the parents of a male infant. The former's acceptance of it denotes a betrothal, perfected when she gives birth to a girl. *^*

Mangyan marital hygiene: The Mangyans are the tribespeople of Mindoro. They believe that cleanliness augurs (forecast) the blooming of love. A man or woman, who has reached the age of puberty and past and takes to cleaning himself or herself, as the case may be, means that he or she is preparing for a love affair. Even after marriage, both spouses must continue to keep dirty. For cleanliness, as in their younger days, means a tryst with a love affair. Not too infrequently does this aspect of their custom cause suspicion on the part of the other spouse. *^*

Unusual Philippines Wedding Ceremonies

The Tagbanwas are considered to be the original natives of Palawan. The patent elaborateness of their wedding celebrations owes to its feature of pageantry. Termed alabarka (from the Spanish and Calamian cockney which means "ship-wise"), it depicts "a veritable invasion from the sea." It somehow commemorates their early pirate days when their wedlocks were forced and involuntary. The braves from the other islands, using a small sailing fleet known as balangay, would just swoop down upon their helpless island and covet their marriageable women. This aspect has been adopted in their traditions to give color, romance and pageantry to their wedding rites. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Leyteño weddings were characterized by two celebrations. The first, henbabayehan is in honor of the bride. It precedes the bridegroom's party. The expenses for it are borne by the bride's parents. The bridegroom is never represented here by anybody, not even by proxy, as nobody from his family is invited as per tradition. The bride's relatives and friends constitute the guests. *^*

The bridegroom's not being represented, however, seems to be only theoretical, for undercover men are actually sent there by the bridegroom's parents, not so much as to participate in the feasting but to spy on the food and entertainment fare so that the same may not be repeated in the henlalakehon, or the bridegroom's party, which must have a completely different but better fare. *^*

Courtship Customs of Different Philippines Ethnic Groups

Palawanon courtship is peculiar in a sense that it departs from the tradition of majority ethnic groups wherein most important consideration is for the prospective bridegroom to have ample means. It would seem that, among Palawanons the most important qualification is for the parents to be adept in the art of answering riddles. Pasabuli is how this stage of Palawanon courtship is termed. Riddles are propounded by the prospective bride's parents. It devolves upon the prospective bridegroom's parents to solve and answer them. Only when the prospective bridegroom's parents can satisfactorily answer them does the courtship transfer to the Pabalic, or session for the bargaining of the onsod (or dowry). [Source: kasal.com *^*]

One of the things that imbue Pangasinense courtship and marriage practices a class unto itself is an object locally known as taga-amo. In the Pangasinense vernacular, it means "potion or drink." In other words, Taga-amo courtship should be taken to mean "courtship by means of love charm." But it is not only a drink. It could also be oil immersed in herbs with known aphrodisiac properties. When the taga-amo is drank or when the oil is rubbed on a woman's skin, it makes her a slave in love, if not actually so, even if she hates a man at first. *^*

In Samar, otherwise known as "the land of the fierce Waray-warays," customs continue to cling on like vines to age-old beliefs with stubborn tenacity. They refuse to die. Nowhere is this more evident than in their courtship and marriage practices. Semi-primitive customs are still fashionable there. Modernism seems unable to contain them. Courtship may take the form of Pakighiruhimangraw, or teasing or flirting. Pakipagharampang is the broaching of a marriage proposal; this is their version of the Pamanhikan of the Tagalogs or the Tampa of the Ilocanos. Which means that a Parayakan, or an emissary is sent to propose a wedding match. *^*

Among other things, the Parayakan must be endowed with the following qualities: a sweet smile, charismatic voice, glib tongue, ready wit, charming disposition, winsome ways and suave personality. He must also be versed in the art of winning love. Being good at Siday, or poetry, will come in handy, as some of the exchanges are poetical in nature. A successful performance in the Pakipagharampang results in the next stage of courtship which is the Pamalaye, whose sole agenda is the bargaining of the Bugay, or dowry. This session is attended by elders, some of them relatives, others not. Feasting and drinking occasions it. The fact that the presence of the prospective bridegroom and his father is here to be noted somehow formalizes and makes official whatever has been taken up in the Pakipagharampang. Tinuha, or "marriage without benefit of courtship" is the name of this marriage. It is arranged solely by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom among themselves for and in behalf of their respective children. The option of dowry is, however, retained. This is something that's never dispensed with, ever. *^*

Liberal, Reckless and Vengeful Courtship

Mahal-Allay or Liberal Courtship: Beauty seems to have very little premium, if at all, in the Apayao customs and traditions with respect to courtship and marriage. Considerations of beauty are not what propels Apayao swains toward the choice of a mate for all seasons, but rather a woman's capacity to work. Her physical constitution is more important. It is one instance where the amazon-like womenhood have a decided edge over the fragile ones in the feminine struggle toward the affection of a man, something which can be classified as a reverse trend. Such seems to be the sad lot of the Apayao women-to work in the kaingins. And when a man happens to own a vast kaingin-by their standards, anyway—he is constrained to indulge in polygamy just so he can obtain additional help to till his land. Polygamy is duly sanctioned by their traditions. But even as this is so, it is, however, rarely availed of—unlike their Muslim counterparts. Indeed, an Apayao swain exercises polygamy not only to satisfy his carnal mischief, but to acquire additional help. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Maratabat or Vengeful Courtship: A distinct character of the Maranao(w) courtship is the so-called maratabat, or vengeful courtship. It is a kind of courtship pursued out of spite. Its avowed purpose is not love, as should be the case, but to get even, to uphold personal honor which is often equated with family honor. It usually arises out of a girl having offended an immediate kin of a man. Thus, it can be seen that the offense committed is not always upon the person of the party seeking to avenge an insult perpetrated but on another as well who is a close kin. *^*

Magpasumbaih or Reckless Courtship: Magpasumbaih (also sarahakan tupul, this according to another observer of the Tausog custom with respect to the same, Amadeo S. Timbol) seems to be a reckless form of Tausog courtship. In this, the love-smitten fellow tries to forego the usual tradition of courtship by going directly to the heartthrob's father, bringing with him a barong or kali (a kind of Tausog bladed weapon) and thereby present it to the latter accompanied by the following admonition: "Sire, I am in love with your daughter, a love that transcends everything in this life. Permit me to ask for her hands in marriage. But should you refuse the offer, life would be meaningless for me. Death would be sweet. You may smite me down with this barong if you so desire." It would be nice if the prospective father-in-law is in an amiable frame of mind when this transgression occurs. But if is not, it is utterly dangerous, as he really might cut the swain down. *^*

Cebuan Wedding Customs

Cebuans have traditionally attended a big party at the bride’s house before the wedding day. The groom’s’ family pays for it and it often goes on through the night. The bride usually wears a white satin wedding gown and carries a bouquet of white flowers, usually butterfly orchids. The groom wears a white barong-tagalog camisa. Elaborate weddings of the wealthy feature music by a choir, bells and aisles decorated with candles and flowers.

In the wedding ceremony, rings are exchanged and, as is the Spanish custom, there is a coins ceremony in which the groom places silver or gold coins in the cupped hands of the bride. In the Laso ceremony, after the priest reads a nuptial mass he places a veil on the bride’s head and the groom’s shoulders and chord of silk or flowers is strung around their necks

The newlyweds are greeted with banners and branches of coconut palms and pillars made from banana plants and when they exit the church and ride away in a decorated car. The traditional transferring of the bride to the bridegroom’s house is often accompanied by costumed dancing to live music.

The thing that really makes traditional Cebuan marriage a breed distinct and apart from all other majority ethnic group practices is the so called Balusay and Luka-Ay, or "marriage by pair." The first is usually a marriage between a brother and sister tandem of one family and a brother and sister team of another family, while the second is one between two brothers of one family and two sisters of another family. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Ilocano Wedding Customs

Among the Ilocano an unmarried man is looked upon with great pity. Traditionally, marriages have been arranged by parents with the emphasis on being of high status and being a harder worker placed over good looks. Meetings are held between the families of the groom and bride and the prospective groom does some house chores at the girl’s home to prove he is sincere. These days love matches are the norm and boys have traditionally wooed girls by serenading them, often around harvest time. The girls is supposed to play hard to get even if she likes a boy to test his sincerity and desire. If a couple gets engaged snail shells and dried hua-hungya leaves are hung to make sure the couple doesn’t rush to have sex before the get married,

Wedding ceremonies are usually held in a church and are presided over by a priest. The couple closes their eyes when the rings are placed on their fingers to symbolize their desire to overcome the hard times of married life and the groom steps on the feet of the bride to show he will be boss. A veil is placed over the bride and groom while the groom presses the bride’s hand, signifying harmony.

As the couple leaves the church often a bolo dance is performed. Before the wedding feast the couple are showered with rice to ensure prosperity and welcomed by parents of many children to ensure they too will have many children. Often the wedded couple has their hair combed to symbolize a smooth marriage. Inside the bride’s house the couple kneels and prays before the family alter and the groom’s family gives a cash gift to the bride’s family. After the couple welcomes guests and kisses the bride’s mother, the bride changes into ordinary clothes and the feasting begins.

A young man’s love is sometimes broached in a song, as in the so-called Tapat of the Ilocanos, which is simply serenading. A more elaborate or romantic form of this type of courtship is also of Ilocano vintage and it is generally practiced in Rosario, La Union, a place better known as "the gateway to Ilocandia." The custom is locally known as suayan, and it is simply a kind of balagtasan-in-song. In other words, its mechanics follows. A young man unburdens his feelings and passion in song and his lady love also answers in song. The young man again counters with another song and his heartthrob gives her reply in a different song. This process goes on for as long as they don't arrive at an understanding. When they do, then its certain that church bell will soon toll for them. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

In olden times in the province of Ilocos, one of their modes courtship was the so called "rooster courtship" which involved a rooster. An old man with a rooster was delegated to serve as go-between. The procedure consisted of his visiting the prospective bride's house with a rooster in tow. To probe into the purpose of the visit, the prospective bride's father inquired from the visitor what he was going to do with the rooster. Whereupon, the old man answers: "I want to make it crow here, if you please." Then he was asked again about the pedigree of the rooster, whether it was domestic or wild. "Domestic" as an answer signified "one of us,' or a prospective bridegroom belonging to the place, while "wild" denoted something foreign or not coming from the same place; one that belongs to a different ethnic group like Pampango, Pangasinese, Bicolano, Ilongo, Cebuano, Batangueno, Chavacano or any other. An elaboration of this lead to the identity of the prospective bridegroom. Tradition requireed the old man to leave a rooster with the prospective bride's father if the match was encouraged. *^*

Manobo Wedding

In Filipino culture, elders play significant roles in marriages or weddings. From the choice of venue and date to the list of sponsors, the opinions of elders are almost always given due importance. In some cultures, even the choice of partners lie on the choices of the elders. With the Manobos, for instance, the elders in the groom’s family decide whether a bride is acceptable. A proposal is then sent to the paternal uncle for the marriage. The bride-to-be’s family then asks for the bride wealth, which could be paid with money, land, animals, or precious stones. If an agreement is reached, the wedding ceremony is formally started. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

The groom’s datu or spokesperson offers a kagun composed of a plate, a threaded needle, string of beads and a peso coin, to the bride’s datu. He also offers a delundun or any property of value. It is here that the two datus set a date for the wedding. After the date has been set, the bride’s family must send a chicken to the groom, the blood of the chicken will be used in anointing the groom and his relatives to prevent misfortune and to assist them in gathering the required bride wealth. For their part, the bride’s family prepares the apa, or food for the wedding feast. The apa is only fed to the prospective in-laws. *^*

On the day of the wedding, the groom’s party goes to the bride’s house. The groom’s datu meets with his counterpart to announce their arrival. The latter will hen announce the arrival and signal the groom’s party to enter the house. But before entering, they must grant or bargain with the ed-ipal’s wishes. An ed-ipal could be anyone from the bride’s family. During this time, the bride is made to hide behind a curtain with someone watching her so she can’t come out. The groom and his companions are then fed. The parents and datus of the couple can only eat after the ceremonial exchange of food or seru. The bride’s party are fed next, entirely from a different menu. *^*

The two datus must now negotiate for the bride wealth. The bride’s datu lays out rirey of the value placed on the bride. Then he also sets out the ibatu, or what the bride’s father had paid to her mother. Then he asks the groom’s family for the bata, one or five centavo coins given to the elders, and also to the spirits. Then he asks for the lihilihi, porcelain plates given to the girl to prevent omen. The boy’s family will also be asked for the purangan (value of endless nights the bride’s parents endured rearing their daughter), tugenan (value of the nourishment they provide to their daughter) and the pemuka (sum of eight pesos). *^*

The rirey or bride’s value will be always not paid in full even if the groom can afford it. This is because the groom is expected to serve the bride and her family whenever they need help. In the event that she is maltreated by her husband, the wife can likewise demand for the amount left unpaid. After the bride's wealth has been negotiated, it is time for the groom’s family to give the tenges or headcloth to the bride’s family. This is followed by the seru, a ritual exchange of food among immediate family members and the two datus. The two datus form rice balls that will be given to the couple to eat. The bride’s mother then prepare a betel chew which she hands down to her daughter who gives it to her husband. Towards the end of the ceremony, the couple will be led the sleeping area where they will be advised by their elders. *^*

Except for the parents, the groom’s party may go back to their home after the wedding rites. The parents of the groom are expected to wait for three days, during which they offer sacrifices to purify the newlyweds. This is done to avoid offending the souls of the couple. After the offering has been made, the groom’s parent leave for their home. The groom follows ‘to call his soul back’. Here, he is purified with blood whenever he arrives in his old home. He must also bring back one article of clothing for every day he spent in his old home. This marks the culmination of a Manobo wedding. *^*

Bontoc Wedding

The Bontoc wedding ritual usually spans several days. It starts with the delivery of the faratong (black beans) from the girl to the bachelor signifying the bride’s intentions to marry. Afterwards, the bride’s family sends out what is known as the khakhu (salted pork) to the groom’s family. This is countered by the sending of sapa (glutinous rice). These food items are distributed to their respective family members, including their relatives. An important rite called insukatan nan makan (exchange of food) follows. Here, one of the groom’s parents, after receiving an invitation, must go to the bride’s house and have breakfast with them. Later, the groom’s parents also invite a bride’s parent for a similar meal. The next step is the farey. The bride and a kaulog (girlfriend) will visit the house of the groom. This is when they ‘start entering each other’s houses’. They will have to leave immediately also, but they will be invited again on the following morning for breakfast. This is the start of the tongor (to align). [Source: kasal.com *^*]

The next day, the bride’s parents, bearing rice and salted meat, will go to the groom’s house for the kamat (to sew tight). A kaulug of the bride and the groom’s best friend is likewise invited. The evening will be the start of the karang or the main marriage ritual. This is when the bride and groom are finally declared as a couple to the whole community. The following morning is the putut (to half). Here, only the immediate relatives are invited for breakfast, signifying theend of the ritual. Two days after the putut, the couple can finally live as husband and wife, but may not sleep together for the next five days, known as the atufang period. The atufang serves to validate the marriage. The groom is instructed to bathe in a spring, taking note of every detail that comes his way, such as the characters he meets, weather changes, among others. Should anything peculiar occur, he must make his way to the mountain to cut some wood. The bride, on the other hand, is sent off to weed in the fields. *^*

Any untoward incidents serve as warnings that the new couple must postpone their living together or mangmang. The final stage of the atufang involves covering smoldering charcoals with rice husks overnight. The marriage is considered null and void if the fire goes out the morning after. The final step is the manmanok where the bride’s parents invite the groom and his parents and declare that the groom could officially sleep with the bride. This signifies the end of the marriage ritual for most Igorots. An optional lopis (a bigger marriage feast) could be done should the couple’s finances allow. *^*

Yakan Honeymoon Rituals

The Yakans of Basilan Island observe interesting rituals during the honeymoon period. In the afternoon, just before the first night the new couple spend together, each of them will be given a separate bath, so the children will not only be born clean but also stay clean throughout life. In their first sexual intercourse, the girl makes sure that she is accepted as a wife and not as a harlot by asking questions about her status. The groom has to answer adequately that she is his wife. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Just before the sexual act, the boy should first step on the right foot as heavily as he can. This symbolizes strength. The first hand to touch his wife should be the right one, for strength and long life. The first kiss should be planted on the forehead for oneness of mind, with eyes opened so that his children will not be born blind. He should breathe lightly so that later in life he will have fewer problems.*^*

The girl wants to be assured that her marriage is accepted spiritually and that she will be his wife even after life. For this reason, the bedding items have to be sanctified and be named in a liturgical language. Permission is also granted to the groom to own the body of his wife and also name her anatomical parts in liturgical speech. *^*

Any sexual intercourse that is not done according to the natural way is considered abominable in the eyes of the Yakan and will bring punishment from God on the culprit and his family. groom is taken to the river to get a bath. The groom is taken to the river to get a bath, just before the wedding ceremony starts. *^* Tausug Wedding Food

Food habits vary from one cultural group to another. These are the products of their environment as well as historical experiences. These food habits become meaningful to them and are carefully held and difficult to change. Because each culture differs from the others, people see and understand things in different ways. Anyone, therefore, who plans to change or modify a food habit must first understand the cultural orientation and perception of the people. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

In Tausug culture, several rituals are followed before the wedding day. There are four stages in a Tausug marriage. The Pagpasihil is the process of "probing" whether the boy is acceptable to the family and relatives of the girl. The nest stage is the Pag-pangasawa or asking for the hand in marriage. Having been accepted formally, the next stage is Pag-turul taimah, which means to follow the acceptance. The last stage is the Pag-Tiaun or the formal wedding. *^*

The wedding feast is prepared on the eve of the wedding. The quantity prepared depends upon the number of guests expected. The more affluent parents slaughter two or more cows and cook several sacks of rice for the occasion. The tiula itim (black soup) is a favorite dish and is prepared in large quantities in a cawa (vat) or big pot. Rice is cooked in a big cooking pot or in empty kerosene cans. Native cakes are prepared some days before the wedding day. Food served on this day is similar to the food served during the pag-turul taimah, such as kurma, sati, kari-kari, piassak, tiulah, sambal, and tiulah itum. Prepared viands are placed in a room where some women are signed to facilitate the allocating and serving of food on the trays. The native cakes served with coffee before lunch are bulha (small cakes of different shapes and designs), hantak or kukus (small fried cakes in various shapes) and bang-bang paklud (banana fritters and the like). The feast is served on long tables arranged in the panggong (temporary shed) constructed adjacent to the house for the occasion. *^*

Bayas: A Wedding Feast in Sagada

The Bayas are the public wedding feasts, which are periodically performed in Sagada. They are normally held two or three times a year --in December and May, and also after the July rice harvest, if desirable. The old men who represent the various dap-ay set the date. Bayas may either be held as an initial marriage feast or be performed by a couple long married to bring good luck and many children. They are performed by both rich and poor but require a minimum of two pigs. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

For the Bayas ceremony, relatives in neighboring villages are invited by special messengers. People ask distant relatives as far as they can remember, and even the ka-ising of these relatives. In 1950, for example, when six couples from Dagdag, Demang, and Patay performed the Bayas in May, relatives came from Bauco, Bagnen, Fidelisan, Tetep-an, Amtadao, and the closer barrios, bringing food and other presents for the households celebrating marriage feasts. After the Bayas ceremony has been performed, the couple are bomayas or bommey and live "separate" from their parents in their own house, with their own property and adult responsibilities. *^*

The basic myth for the Bayas ceremony is found in the account of how Lumawig taught the wedding rites. Many of the events are found in the Bontoc Lumawig cycle, but they are adapted to the Sagada situation. *^*

Samal Wedding

The Samals, also known as the Sama Dila-ut, used to be sea-nomads in the past times. They are now mostly settled in stilted houses in offshore villages. Some of their traditional courtship and marriage practices live on. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

The Samals taboo against incestuous marriage is called the da boheg (of one semen). Both otherwise they tolerate marriages between close relatives. The closest they allow kin-marriages are offsprings of sisters and/or brothers as well as those of a brother and a sister. In other words, first cousin. They consider this already as saddi boheg (of different semen). A girl in considered ready to marry after her first menstruation. Any desire on her part, to enter the marriage status is signified by the fitting of a gold tooth on her upper denture. And to enhance her worth, she is dressed in sarongs and other colorful native costumes.

Pamamanhikan of the South

Michelle Eve A. de Guzman wrote in kasal.com: Compared to the more commonly known pamamanhikan, the Visayan version called pamalaye adds poetry. Suppose eighty years ago, a certain Remedios fell in love with an Arsenio, and the latter wanted to propose to the girl. In accordance with the traditional pamalaye, Arsenio did a sondalisa (from the Spanish sondar or to sound out) to check if there was a chance Remedios’ parents might consent to a marital union. He sent a note through a messenger to her parents begging leave to visit at around 6pm on a Wednesday. Remedios’ parents liked the idea so they did not answer—after the third day of the note delivery, silence from them meant it was alright. [Source: Michelle Eve A. de Guzman, April 1, 2008, kasal.com ~]

“On a Wednesday, Arsenio went with his parents, relatives and friends to Remedios’ house, carrying pots of rice, viands and tuba, which they left under the girl’s house upon arrival. They did not want to show it to their hosts just yet. Neighbors heard the news and watched from a distance. The doors and windows of the house were closed for the occasion. And no one moved, until the spokesman for the boy’s family asked for permission to come inside: Uroy, tagbalay, makadayon ba; ning ang-ang makatikang ba? (Graceful hosts, may we ascend; on your staircase may we step?) Ani-a kami ing silong nagtindog ning ugmaran mo (We are here, standing on our feet; a humble audience do we seek.) Arang ba kayha kami pasak-on sa tambongan patigsampongon? (Will you deign to accept our greeting, and bid us to enter your dwelling?) ~

Now, Arsenio’s spokesman was the mayor, a family friend and their chosen go-between who could represent him and his parents. After all, Remedios’ parents could accept or reject him based on his spokesperson’s prominence, wit and tact. The mayor was the mamamae (the one who proposes) and the dakong tawo (great man) who would negotiate the stipulations, arrangements and conditions of their marriage should it be so. After all, Remedios’ parents could accept or reject him based on his spokesperson’s prominence, wit and tact. Remedios’ family also had their own spokesperson (the pugong or shield for her interests and welfare), their parish priest. The priest, upon hearing the mayor’s plea, acted surprised and responded: Kinsa ba karong nag-aghoy, nag-awhag nang ugmaran ko? (Who is he whose sighs I hear, wailing sounds foreign to my ear?) Dili kayha makasakang dayon, kay ako pang susolingon ug pagaduma-dumahon. (I pray you wait awhile, till your countenance I see, and make sure who you may be.) ~

“After urging the boy’s family inside, the dakong tawo and the pugong engaged in an oral debate about love, the constancy and dignity of woman, man’s faithfulness and marriage. They became more poetic, using flowery words, for as long as four hours. When the mayor mentioned asking for Remedios’ hand, the purpose of the visit, everyone inside and outside the house waited in anticipation. The parish priest, however, cleverly evaded the issue, as Remedios watched from behind her door. Then, the mayor and the boy’s family offered their food and drinks, and after some initial refusal, the other side accepted. Arsenio’s relatives (known as the tindogon) assisted Remedios’ relatives (the lingkoron). … the dakong tawo and the pugong engaged in an oral debate… using flowery words, for as long as four hours. ~

When the mayor asked for an answer from the parish priest, the girl’s pugong conferred with the parents. They said yes to Arsenio’s delight. Had Remedios’ side said no, Arsenio would need to do the pamalaye again until he got it right. Here lies the supposed end of the story that took place eighty years ago. According to Dumaguete-based award-winning poet Cesar Ruiz Aquino, the important role of the spokesperson was traditionally played by a poet, the most eloquent the boy’s family could find. “It’s like a joust between the two families on who could outdo the other,” he said. Over time, however, this poetic element to the pamalaye has waned in actual practice. ~

“Dumaguete City General Services Officer Paulito Honculada shared he had served as a close friend’s spokesperson early this year, and he did not recite poetry. Being his second time as the dakong tawo, he calmed his friend down before entering the girl’s house. But he only asked the girl’s family about the possibility of the two getting married. After the negotiations and the meal, both sides were calling each other “pare” and “mare”. The wedding took place last June 30, 2007. “This still practiced tradition,” he said, “is because we need our families to support us: financially, emotionally.” For him, that was why formally asking the girl’s parents for her hand was important; to get their consent, and consequently, their support. ~

Silliman University Sociology and Anthropology Head Solomon Apla-on concurred with this idea of support when he said, “The family is the best insurance.” Seeking for the girl’s hand in marriage, he said, is symbolic of how when one gets married in the Philippines, one does not only marry the girl or boy; one marries each other’s families, expanding the inter-relatedness of family life. “I wish that the pamalaye will still be practiced in the years to come because it is a beautiful tradition. It is inherent in the Filipino family to want their children to [have happy families as well],” he said. ~

Filipino Chinese Weddings

The Chinese, like the Filipinos, have unique wedding traditions, ceremonies, and even superstitions. Because China is a large country, each clan has its own special tradition and customs. Their traditions mixed with the Filipinos, made Filipino-Chinese weddings even more colorful. Here is a guide on the basic wedding rituals of the Filipino-Chinese. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

The elements of ancestor worship and elder reverence, the lookout for omens, the use of professional matchmakers, the ornate gift-giving rituals and patrilineal kinship are similarly present in both traditional Chinese weddings and Chinese marriages in Philippine soil, along with the primary objectives of enhancing families and perpetuation of lineage. The element of time likewise plays a major part in Chinese weddings. Compatibility between bride and groom, for one, is more often than not determined by their respective star signs and horoscopes, which are in turn determined by the date and time of their births. The time of the ceremony is carefully picked, again for purposes of adherence to what their horoscopes dictate. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Unlike their western counterparts, Chinese weddings make extensive use of the color red, for it is believed that the color symbolizes joy and luck. On the other hand, the practice of showering the newlyweds with rice is remarkably present in both cultures. In a marriage, the dragon symbolizes the male role while the phoenix symbolizes the female role. Dragon and Phoenix designs symbolize male and female harmony and a balanced relationship. The motif is rooted in mythology where the dragon symbolizes the Emperor and at his side stands the magically powerful phoenix with her life-giving song. *^*

Chinese elders usually play a major role in the Chinese wedding. This role traditionally starts even before the child to be wed is born, when parents arrange for the weddings of their children. Sometimes, couples seek the help of a professional matchmaker, usually an elderly local woman of reputable character. Children, for their part, customarily follow their parents, as dictated by the analects of Confucius. *^*

For the Chinese, the preferred partner is also Chinese. Chinese parents usually dislike Filipinos for in-laws. This prejudice against Filipinos mainly stems from their values which are different from those of Filipinos. Thus, inter-racial marriages are rare. In a culture where ancestral worship is practiced, it comes as no surprise that weddings are held in front of the family altar. The local Chinoy version varies little, as ceremonies are usually held before ancestral shrines in clan halls. *^*

Once the future bride has accepted the marriage proposal of the future groom, the couple consults a Feng Shui expert to assist them in choosing the date of their Kiu Tsin or Kiu Hun or pamamanhikan (asking of hand in marriage), Ting Hun or engagement, and Kan Chiu or wedding ceremony. The Feng Shui expert determines the most auspicious date and time for these three important occasions based on the Chinese Zodiac sign of the marrying couple, their parents, and grandparents. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

Marriage Compatibility According to the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese zodiac sign is based on a 12-year cycle, each year represented by an animal, associated with a specific type of personality. As such, those born under a certain Chinese zodiac also bear the same characteristics of their sign. As ritual to ensuring marital bliss, soon-to-wed Filipino-Chinese, or simply Tsinoys, as well as other Filipino couples, consult their Chinese zodiac sign to see if they are compatible with their soon-to-be partner for life. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

It is easier to identify incompatible signs of the Chinese zodiac. The main reason why certain zodiac signs are incompatible with one another is because of the clash of their personalities. For example those born under the year of the Dragon (1964, 1976, 1988) are said to have “quick, sometimes vengeful tempers”. They are also known to be aggressive and dominant. With this, they become incompatible with people born in the Year of the Dog (1958, 1970, 1982) since they have “a sharp tongue and a tendency to be a faultfinder”. /*/

Here is the complete list of incompatible signs: 1) Rat (1960, 1972, 1984, 1996) and Horse (1954, 1966, 1978, 1990); 2) Ox (961, 1973, 1985, 1997) and Sheep (1955, 1967, 1979, 1991); 3) Tiger (1962, 1974, 1986, 1998) and Monkey (1956, 1968, 1980, 1992); 4) Rabbit (1963, 1975, 1987, 1999) and Rooster (1957, 1969, 1981, 1993); 5) Dragon (1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000) and Dog (958, 1970, 1982, 1994); 6) Snake (1965, 1977, 1989, 2001) and 7) Pig (1959, 1971, 1983, 1995). /*/

On the other end, there are Chinese zodiac signs that are perfect for each other. They complement the personal traits of their partner’s signs. To establish compatibility, astrologers have grouped each of the twelve signs into four trines. By definition, a trine is a Ptolemaic aspect with an angle of 120̊ (1/3 of the 360̊ ecliptic), represented by the triangle. The trine indicates harmony, and ease of expression, with the two elements reinforcing each other. In Chinese astrology, each trine is evenly spaced at four years apart. People born under similar trines are said to have the same traits, mindset, and personality. This makes the couple with the same group of trine very compatible. /*/

1) First Trine: Rat, Dragon, and Monkey: These three signs are said to be the most powerful signs in the Chinese zodiac. People born under these signs are said to be capable of great good or great evil. When it comes to relationships, they are highly intelligent, charming, yet authoritative. Their relationships are usually intense and would like it to remain that way. 2) Second Trine: Ox, Snake, and Rooster: Members of the second trine are known to conquer life through endurance, application, and slow accumulation of energy. They are meticulous planners, and are very good at it. Also, they are loyal, philosophical, patient, good-hearted, and has high moral values. /*/

3) Third Trine: Tiger, Horse, and Dog: People born in the year of the Tiger, Horse, and Dog can simply be described as the 'true romantics'. They set relationships and personal contacts as their highest priorities. The third trine signs are also productive, engaging, independent, and loyal. They have the tendency be very protective. The three signs do not enjoy being told what to do, but will listen when comes from a person they love or trust whole-heartedly. 4) Fourth Trine: Rabbit, Sheep and Pig: The last trine is a seeker of beauty in life. They are capable of great sacrifices for the sake of their loved one. These three signs are compassionate, caring, sensible, emphatic, prudent, and are very affectionate. Off all the four, members of the fourth trine possess a calmer nature than the rest of the zodiacs. Incidentally, they are fine artists in their lovemaking. /*/

For couples who are neither in the compatible or incompatible group (example, Tiger and Rabbit), the degree of their compatibility may vary. This depends upon their personalities and the nature of their relationship. Whether compatible or not, the married life of a couple depends on themselves. Their love, respect, and understanding for each other should serve as the foundation of their relationship. Their ideals and characteristics may cause conflict at times, but surely, by the end of the day, their love for one another should transcend their differences. Best wishes! /*/

Ting Hun: Formal Chinese Filipino Engagement Ceremony

On the day of the Formal Engagement Ceremony, called Ting Hun, no formal invitations will be printed or distributed for this occasion. However, the groom parents shall have it announced in a local Chinese newspaper ad on the day itself. During the Ting Hun, the groom’s engagement party arrives at the ceremonial place an hour before the said time and the bride serves tea to the groom's family in order of seniority. The bride is escorted by a female relative, chosen for her good qualities and standing. She should be a married woman with children and has a birth sign that is compatible with the bride. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

The ceremony begins with the bride’s parents welcoming and receiving the groom’s party. First, the groom enters with the box of corsage in his hand. He is followed by his relatives who will enter the ceremony venue in two’s, with each pair carrying a Sin Na. They are followed by the parents of the groom, and last, the other representatives of the family carrying the other gifts. As the gifts are being carried into the ceremonial room, the elder representatives of the groom fix the ceremonial table, cover it with the red bridal satin cloth and place the gifts on top. After the groom's family has entered, their chosen representatives are asked to proceed to their ceremonial seats together with the bride's chosen representatives. The representatives of the groom's family fixes the ceremonial table. /*/

The bride enters the ceremonial room walking backward. This is to avoid negative energy and to avoid her from seeing the groom. The bride is turned three times clockwise by her escort. After which, he allowed to look at the groom. Welcome drink such as red or orange juice, which denotes good luck and happiness, is served as soon as the bride is seated. The bride's female family member serves the drink to both entourages, from eldest to youngest, before it is served to the marrying couple. Once the marrying couple is served, the families can now proceed to exchanging of gifts or Gift-Giving Ceremony. /*/

After the exchange of gifts, the Wedding Tea Ceremony comes next. For Chinese, tea plays a significant part on both engagement and wedding as tea symbolizes respect. During the tea ceremony, the bride serves the tea to the groom's family in order of seniority. She is followed by the groom who, in turn, serves the bride's family in the same order. Through this ceremony, the bride is formally introduced to the family of the groom. /*/

Once all the guests have been served with tea, formal pictorial follows. It may be followed in this sequence:; 1) Newly engaged couple; 2) Couple with bride's parents; 3) Couple with bride's immediate family; 4) Couple with both parents; 5) Couple with groom's parents; 6) Couple with groom's immediate family; 7) Couple with groom's engagement party; 8) Couple with bride's engagement party; 9) Couple with bride's relative; 10) Couple with bride's friends. Just before the wedding reception the newlyweds are served with misua (thin noodles made from wheat flour, originating in Fujian), a symbol of long lasting relationship. /*/

The family members of the bride prepare the dining table where the engagement party will take sweet tea soup and misua, a symbol of long lasting relationship. The bride's mother invites the engagement party for sweet tea soup and misua eating as part of the ceremony. Each guest at the table is served with a bowl of sweet tea soup, containing two pieces of eggs, two pieces of red dates and two pieces of sliced condoles. The sweet taste of the tea soup is a wish for sweet relations among the bride and her new family. One doesn’t need to finish two eggs. If unable to finish, he/she may cut the remaining egg in half. However, should anyone choose not to eat them, he/she may opt to leave them in pair. Pair signifies a couple's togetherness. /*/

After the sweet tea soup, bowls of misua are served. The same procedure in serving is followed, with the elders served first and the marrying couple served last. After the misua is eaten, the Ang Paos are returned to the groom, who in turn, returns the money to his parents. The bride's female family members distribute flowers to the single ladies while other female members prepare goodie bags for giveaway. /*/

The groom places back the cakes displayed earlier at the table in their respective boxes. He carries the cake with bride's name, while the cake bearing his name is carried by one of his representative. Riding a car, they will drive around the block of the ceremonial venue twice. Driving around is like forming a circle, a shape which signifies unending union or lasting relationship of the couple. The groom comes back carrying the cake with his name and leaves the other cake in his car. The numbers of Sin Na's content and other goodies is divided into half and are returned to the groom's family before or after the reception. After this ceremony, the bride and groom, together with their family and those who were not allowed to witness the ceremony, eat at the prepared reception. /*/

Kiu Hun or Kiu Tsin – Chinese Filipino Pamamanhikan

The future groom and his family visit the future bride and her parents to formally ask for her hand in marriage. The groom’s family brings basket of fruits and sweets to the bride’s family. These gifts represent fertility and prosperity in Chinese culture. During this time, both families discuss about the wedding date, wedding preparation, and other details. Once the dates have been identified, both families prepare their traditional gifts for each other. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

The female's family picks an auspicious date from the suggested dates of the male's family. Auspicious days are subject to interpretation by fortunetellers that perform the analysis based on one's birth date (day and hour) after consultation with the Chinese almanac. The 15 day period from the middle to the end of the seventh lunar month is considered inauspicious because that is time of the Hungry Ghost Festival when the gates of Hell are opened and the lost spirits are allowed to wonder the earth. Usually the whole seventh lunar month is considered inauspicious. The 15 day period from the middle to the end of the seventh lunar month is considered inauspicious because that is time of the Hungry Ghost Festival when the gates of Hell are opened and the lost spirits are allowed to wonder the earth. The male's family will present the betrothal gifts which includes tea, dragon and phoenix bridal cakes, wine, pairs of male and female poultry, sweetmeats and sugar. In extremely rich families, they even send out jewelry. Tea is a primary part of these gifts. [Source: Karen Grace Pascual, Tsinoy.com \=\]

Below are the gifts the groom and his family have to prepare, with Sang Hee sticker on top: A) Jewelry; Wedding rings; Lady’s watch; Lady’s necklace with medallion pendant; A pair of Chinese bangles with red thread; Sets of jewelries placed in a red box; B) Ang Paos: 2 pairs of Ang Paos, one pair of small amount and one pair of big amount; C) Fabric (Quantity of clothes/fabric should be in even numbers); D) Flowers: One box of corsage; One box of boutonnière; Six (6) or eight (8) varieties of flowers (all colors are allowed except white); E) Fruits: Boxes of fruits (in even numbers); 4 pieces of Pomelo; F) Canned Goods: Canned porklegs (in even numbers); Canned fruit cocktails (in even numbers); G) Chinese Hopia: Each set has four (4) kinds of Chinese delicacies) (minimum of 12 sets); H) Candies and cookies (preferably chocolate coins); I) Chinese misua (placed in red boxes); J) Gifts: for the bride’s parents and senior members of the family (usually a suit/barong fabric for men and lace fabric for women) and Sin Na (a 4-layered basket made out of bamboo). /*/

After preparing the gifts, the participants of the formal engagement party are chosen based on the compatibility of their Chinese zodiac signs to the marrying couple and both parents. This is to avoid the presence of bad luck or negative energy during the ceremony. Family members and guests who are incompatible are not allowed to witness the ceremony but they are welcome to join the reception. Engaged couples and pregnant women are not allowed as well because the Chinese believe that they may pull out the luck intended for the marrying couple. In Chinese weddings, pomelos are given because of the Chinese Proverb, "Yiu Lai, Yiu Khi", which means smooth relationship). /*/

Pre-Wedding Filipino Chinese Traditions

Giving out invitations is a must for every wedding. But the Chinese really does it with style. They send out Double Happiness cakes to the close friends and relatives to announce their wedding. Along with these cakes comes an invitation printed on red paper. Those who received it must give them a congratulatory gift on the wedding day. Another pre-wedding ritual is installing the bridal bed probably for the couples first tonight together. A respected relative considered a good luck man or good luck woman, one man or women with many children and living mates will install the bed. Installing the bed means moving the bed slightly or putting the bed cover and the pillows. Once the bed is installed, children (as many as you want) are asked to play on the bed. Later on they will scatter red dates, pomegranates and other fruits. The female has to bathe in water infused with pomelo skin or peelings or leaves, to clense her of the bad things. [Source: Karen Grace Pascual, Tsinoy.com \=\]

After the Ting Hun, the couple arranges a visit to chosen individuals to formally ask them to serve as principal sponsors. The couple brings a basket of goods containing canned pork leg, misua, canned fruit cocktail and sweets during their visit. Once the prospect sponsors agree, the couple visits again to bring fabric for his or her attire for the wedding. Other couples may only pay one visit to their future sponsor who is really close to them. They bring along the fabric together with the basket of goods on the day of their visit. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

Both bride and groom have their own pre-wedding preparations. For the groom, he delivers the bridal gown and other accessories at the bride’s house. He gives this to the sister or mother of the bride. This is because the Chinese, like Filipinos, believe that the couple must not see each other before the wedding day. The marrying couple must consult their parents regarding the sequence of ceremony. Sometimes Chinese beliefs differ between families and not talking about it beforehand may cause conflict along the way. For example, others would have the pinning of the corsage at the start of the ceremony while others would have it at the end. /*/

The groom is in charge of installing the matrimonial bed at the couple’s new room. This is a new bed complete with cases, comforters, pillows, and sheets sprinkled with red dates, oranges, lotus seeds, peanuts, pomegranates and other fruits. The installation date is chosen by a Feng Shui expert. Once the bed has been installed, a baby boy born under the Year of the Dragon is made to roll around and sleep on the bed to ensure the couple’s future in bearing a son. Some families require the groom to sleep on the bed as well. For other Tsinoys, a respected relative considered as a ‘good luck man’ or ‘good luck woman’, a man or woman with many children and living mates, will install the bed. They are the ones asked to play on the bed to pass their good luck and fertility to the soon-to-wed couple. /*/

For the bride, she prepares her personal belongings, called Ke Tseng to be brought to her new home. These are neatly wrapped and are all labeled with Sang Hee. The bride's dowry is mainly interior ornaments or daily necessities. Wealthy parents have the options of giving complete home appliances, car, and real estate property. Ke Tseng items include: 1) A pair of red lantern; 2) A mirror covered in red cloth to dispel bad energy; 23 A pair of floral arrangement in a vase; 4) A pair of Mini Sin Na filled with sweet and Chinese herbs; 5) Small urinal/toilet kettle; 6) New sets of clothing; 7) New sets of jewelry; 8) New sets of suit case; and 9) a baby bath tub with toiletries. These items are then brought to the new house on a given date and time by the Feng Shui expert. The bride’s siblings bring all the items to the new house. Once everything has been brought to the new house, the family of the bride is served with misua, hard boiled egg and drinks. They will also receive Ang Paos as a token of gratitude. /*/

Filipino Chinese Wedding Day

On her wedding day the bride has to bath in water infused with pomelo skin or peelings or leaves, to cleanse her of the bad things. Then a good luck woman comes to help dress up the bride's hair. This woman should speak auspicious words while tying up the bride’s hair in a bun, the style of married woman. The bride’s face is covered with either a red silk veil or a 'curtain' of tassels or beads that hang from the bridal Phoenix crown. For the groom a capping ritual is done. The groom kneels at the family altar while his father places a cap decorated with cypress leaves on his head. They then set up the bridal sedan chair to pick up the bride along with the relatives and friends. [Source: Karen Grace Pascual, Tsinoy.com \=\]

In some cases, the groom has dinner with the bride's family, and receives a pair of chopsticks and two wine goblets wrapped in red paper, symbolic of his receiving the joy of the family in the person of their daughter. In some regions, the groom is offered sweet longan tea, two hard-boiled eggs in syrup and transparent noodles. Another variation is for the groom to partake in a soup with a soft-boiled egg, the yolk of which is broken to symbolize the breaking the bride's ties with her family.\=\

The festive procession of picking up the bride includes firecrackers and loud gongs. The groom leads the procession accompanied by a child as an omen of his future sons, and attendants with lanterns and banners, musicians, and a 'dancing' lion or unicorn follows the bridal sedan chair. The 'good luck woman' carries the bride on her back to the sedan chair. Another attendant sometimes shields the bride with a parasol while a third tosses rice at the sedan chair. It is written that the bride cannot touch the bare earth. Great care is taken to ensure that no inauspicious influence affects the marriage. The female attendants are chosen with particular care so that the horoscope animals of their birth years are compatible with that of the bridegroom. The sedan chair is heavily curtained so that the bride may avoid seeing unlucky things. \=\

The wedding ceremony depends on the religion of the couple. Based on study, most Tsinoys are Catholics, thus following the Catholic wedding ceremony. Some practice their traditional Chinese religion, such as Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism, side by side with Catholicism or other religions. Typically the wedding ceremony only takes a few minutes. In a traditional Chinese style wedding the bride and the groom go to the family altar and pay homage to the Heaven and Earth, the family ancestors and then to their parents. The groom's parents are offered tea with two lotus seeds or dates in the cup. After they bow, the ceremony is over. In some other rituals, the couple drinks wine from the same goblet, eat sugar molded in the form of a rooster, and partake in a the wedding dinner together. \=\ /*/

Chinese Filipino Wedding Day Traditions

On the day of the wedding, more traditions are followed. For the wedding itself, formal invitations are printed and distributed to relatives and friends. The groom’s parents will again announce the wedding in a local Chinese newspaper. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

During the preparation of the bride, she wears a red robe with a dragon emblem while having her hair and make up done. After changing into her bridal outfit, her father is tasked to comb her hair 2 to 4 strokes downward to remove bad luck. A pair of Sang Hee coin is sewn in her entire outfit: bridal gown, long veil, stockings and shoes. Same thing goes with her future mother in law's stockings and shoes that were given by the bride. /*/

When the bride is prepared to leave for the church, she throws a fan bearing Sang Hee sign to family member sending her off. The bride's mother would pick it up and keep it. This gesture shows that her leaving will not take away all the good fortune from her. The door game originated from ancient times and shows that the bride's family and friends do not want to marry her away. /*/

Another tea ceremony takes place after the wedding ceremony and before they head to the reception. This is held in their new home or a small room at the reception venue. It is done by the newlywed couple and the groom's family. The bride serves tea to the groom's family in order of seniority which is similar to their engagement. After the drinking of tea, she receives a gift or Ang Pao from each member of the groom’s family. Gifts are usually in form of red envelopes or Ang Pao and contain money or jewelry. Some relatives prefer that the bride uses the jewelry immediately. After which, the bride gives her gift to the elders of the family. Misua is served to the couple after. family. In Chinese weddings, white-colored items are never given as gifts because the Chinese associate the color white as a sign of mourning. /*/

The ritual of gift-giving is a bit more complicated in Chinese marriages. Betrothal gifts from the groom may include money, tea, Dragon and Phoenix cakes, poultry, sugar, wine, tobacco andand other items. These gifts are countered with gifts of food and clothing. The Chinoy version goes as far as the offering of furniture and appliances to the groom, as though to say that the bride's family isn't marrying their daughter because it is unable to provide for her. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Filipino Chinese Wedding Banquet

The wedding reception is usually in the form of a Chinese banquet. The Chinese wedding banquet usually consists of fish, roast suckling pig, pigeon, chicken cooked in red oil, lobster and desert bun with lotus seeds stuffed inside. Each dish represents a significant wish for the young couple. The fish sounds like 'yu' which means abundance. The roast suckling pig symbolizes bride's purity. Pigeon implies peaceful future while the chicken which also means 'phoenix' cooked in red oil symbolizes a wish for a good life. The lobster is literally called 'dragon shrimp ' in Chinese. The lobster and chicken is a yin yang and represents a balance that must be met like the marriage of man and woman. [Source: Karen Grace Pascual, Tsinoy.com \=\]

Getting married was never easy in every culture. All preparations and cooperation from both sides are needed. There is chaos, miscommunication, panic, almost everything can happen between the preparations and the wedding day itself. But amidst of this all, a wedding, whether Chinese or Filipino, American or African, is a symbol of unity and harmony that man and a woman is bound to. It is, as cliché as it may sound, a celebration of love that will last forever. \=\

Common must-have food for Chinese wedding banquet consists of fish, roast suckling pig, pigeon, chicken cooked in red oil, lobster and desert bun with lotus seeds stuffed inside. Each of these dishes represents a significant wish for the young couple. But nowadays, Tsinoys are more open to serving other cuisines. During the reception, members of the entourage are given Ang Paos by the groom’s family. At times, the bride’s family gives Ang Paos to the entourage members as well. /*/

Chinese Filipino Post Wedding Rituals

After the wedding reception, the couple proceeds to their new home and removes the red satin cloth covering the mirror. Then, two single brothers or male relatives of the bride gives the couple Wa Hue set. This is a bouquet of flowers with umbrella and sewing kit. The bride receives the gifts and gives Ang Pao in return. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

Three days after the wedding, the couple visits the house of the bride’s parents. The day of the wedding is counted as day one, so if the wedding falls on a Sunday, Tuesday will be the third day. The couple will have lunch with the bride’s parents. After the meal, the couple is sent home with a pair of sugar cane branch or a bottle of sugar cane juice and a live rooster and hen placed in a cage. The sugar cane represents sweet and harmonious life. /*/

Once the couple gets back home from their visit, they proceed to their bedroom and release the chickens. It is believed that if the rooster comes out first, the first born will be a boy; if it is the hen, then their first born will be a girl. /*/

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Philippines Department of Tourism, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated June 2015

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