Wedding: The Filipino Way

Before couples could take the big plunge into a lifelong commitment, they have to surpass the first challenge in their union: WEDDING.

It may sound like an exaggeration. But really, it's not!

It's a common knowledge that aside from the arduous phase of planning such a momentous event the engaged twosome also needs to be heedful of the innumerable rituals that have long been interwoven in marriage ceremonies. In the Philippines' case, that is! Such traditions are actually the perfect manifestations of how superstitious Filipinos can be: from the trivial down to the most absurd practices, of which their significance somehow eludes me.

I could enumerate a gazillion of beliefs that've been meshed with wedding celebrations. But let's save ourselves the trouble and focus on the most common Filipino wedding practices or "pamahiin" which have somehow survived despite the modernity of our age.

1. Fitting of Bridal Gown is Forbidden.


How would the bride-to-be know if the gown fits her like a glove without having to try it on? A question I always throw at conservative kindred. But it is somehow believed that if the soon-to-be-bride does so the wedding might not push through at all.

Hmmm, might want to try this one when you get cold feet on the last minute and see if it really works.

2. Avoid Giving Sharp Objects as Wedding Presents.


Pointed objects such as knives symbolize break-up. I couldn't personally vouch the validity of this one. However, among the weddings I've attended, I haven't heard any guests presenting knives nor swords to the the newlyweds.

So just to be on the safe side, stick to the customary and practical wedding presents.

3. Lighted Candles Symbolize the Couple's Lives.


The candle, either that of the groom or bride, which goes off first is predicted to kick the bucket before his or her partner. Sounds silly?

I, for one, had witnessed how my mom vigorously made the sign of the cross fearing for the bride's life, who's my cousin. She watched in horror as the bride's candle was put out by a gust of wind at the instant it was lighted.

Well, just so you'd know, that very cousin of my mine is still alive and literally kicking her husband to bring home more bacons. Perhaps, my poor cousin-in-law must've been cursing under his breath every time he comes home when such omen will take its course.

4. The Groom Should Be First to Arrive at a Church.


This is to avoid bad luck in their marriage.

But if you ask me, the logical explanation is that men take less time to primp themselves up compared to women. Agree or disagree?

5. No Rendezvous for the Engaged Couple a Day Before Their Wedding.


For the die-hard of traditions, seeing each other a day before the wedding date is definitely a no-no for the soon-to-be married pair. This is again to avoid bad luck.

6. Stepping on Your Partner's Toe Means Domination.


For couples who love competition, gaining control is easy - just step on your groom or bride's toe. And voila!

Seriously, I don't believe in this. Besides, marriage is supposed to be a partnership not a rat race.

7. The Groom Should Never Sit In Front of His Bride During Reception.


The explanation is simple: the wife will have the advantage of henpecking her husband during their marriage. It's logical as one couldn't possibly nag someone if her back is on that person, right? But come to think of it, aren't most wives natural at nagging?

8. Breaking of Kitchen Wares.


This I suppose is a good omen. The act is believed to be a sign of good luck for the couple throughout their marriage.

Do this with lots of caution, though, or else you might end up with an empty dish rack.

9. Sukob - Siblings Marrying on the Same Year Means Bad Luck.


This belief, turned horror flick, is the grandmother of all bad omens. If siblings got married on the same year, it is likely that one of them will suffer while the other prospers or vice-versa.

10. Contrasting Interpretations of Rain.


Some people consider rain as a good sign while others think the opposite. Rain maybe seen as an indication of having lots of offspring. On the other hand, it may be considered as signal of a turbulent marriage.

I don't know about you but, good or bad, I definitely prefer a wedding on a sunny and sans cloud day.

So if you didn't want to be slapped with criticisms on your wedding day, you'd better follow these customs.

However, bear in mind that the success of one's marriage isn't measured by traditions, may it be rational or irrational. It all comes down to how much the couple love each other.

by nash 2009/11/22
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