Friday, November 17, 2017



title pic Pre Hispanic Wedding Ceremony Rites

Posted by admin on June 16, 2012

Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony

Historical knowledge is vital to bring back awareness to a once civilized ancient wedding tradition, uniquely Filipino in nature.  Let it not be said that we are copycats in our wedding rites, as influenced by Spanish and American culture.  But due to the Spanish legacy the happy wedding times of our ancestors is now a thing of the past.

The following illustrates once upon a time the beauty of our pre-Hispanic wedding ceremony for everyone to recall.

With the dowry agreed upon, presented and offered by both families of the bride and groom, the next step is setting the date of the wedding.  The wedding ceremony takes three days every with every member of the clan involved in the preparation.

On the first day, the bride and the groom are carried separately in a procession moving towards the “babaylan’s” (a high priest) house where the wedding rites take place.  The priest joins their hands on a plate of raw rice and blesses them.  This is followed by the start of feasting until the next day.

On the next day, the groom and bride are again before the priest and this time a blood compact is performed.  With a thorn at hand pricks their chest to draw a little blood.  He later joins their hands and bade them declaring thrice their love for each other.   He then feeds them cooked rice from the same plate and makes them drink from the wooden cup of the blood drawn from both, mixed with a little water.

Binding their hands and neck together with a cord, he declares,” This man is now one with the woman. Let all of you be witnesses to this union.”   Like the exchange of rings in a Christian ceremony, the couple then gave each other a jewel.   This ritual called “talingbuhol”, signaled the completion of the wedding and the start of yet another round of wedding feasts anywhere from one to two weeks or for as long as the grooms largesse held out.

On the last day of feasting the bride, ceremoniously bathed by her godmothers and decked again in her wedding finery, is solemnly and finally delivered to her husband in their new home.

To the new generation of young couples, take heed, the customs our ancestors once performed and practiced deserves fond memory.  Keeping in mind what our national hero, Dr Jose P Rizal, once said: “it is necessary to open the book that tells the story of the past.” Knowing the past is akin to knowing our identity, as a Filipino.

 

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title pic A Letter to Daddy and Mommy

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Dearest Daddy and Mommy,

It is this chapter of my life that I shall value years from now.  Being far away from home has its advantages as well as disadvantages.  But in the long run, it seems that the former overcomes the latter.  I have experienced what is to be alone and what loneliness really means. Yet, I am now more independent and take pride in this.  Away from home, I have been able to look life from another perspective.  On the whole, I have learned to be more pragmatic and realistic about certain things.  

At this point, entering into the married life, it is too early to tell what I shall do a year from now, where I shall be, or what shall happen.  But whatever happens, I feel confident of myself.  This confidence stems basically from everything I have experienced.  The happiness as well as pain and most importantly, from my experience living with you as my parents.

I remember my childhood, adolescence and early stages of adulthood with you, and of all these have enriched me as a person.  The times when as a family we would go off to Baguio, Tagaytay, etc.    But now, as I look back, I treasure these memories.  The times when Daddy would put us up on the horses in Baguio and you, Mom and Dad would patiently watch us go riding for hours.  The times when we went shipping, shopping, biking.   The times when Mommy had to cook for all our parties, and when Daddy would go downstairs at night to watch the full moon at the front yard only to find out we’re all following him to also wonder about the moon’s beautiful shape.  When you both played Santa Claus and I caught you, but never let on that we knew.  These are memories I shall always cherish, look back to and find strength in, when things get rough along the way.

I also think back and note all the big and small things you have done for us, the trials you have gone through to make us happy, and all the pain you have endured because of us.  As I look back with tears in my eyes, and heaviness in my heart due to guilt as well as homesickness, I want to thank you and say, I am truly sorry for every pain and heartache you have had to endure because of us.

Yet yours is a true example of parenthood.  It is unselfishness, coupled with understanding, or at least trying to understand which counts so much to a child when she looks back.

I hope years from now, I can emulate these values as a parent for the sake of my children.  Thank you Mom, Dad, for molding me as a good person…

 

I love you and will miss you,

Your daughter Isabel

 

Wedding Letter

Wedding Letter

For parents, it pains to see one’s daughter about to be betrothed than a son.  The anxiety of a daughter marrying someone considered as an alien to a family.  So, to ease the pain it will perhaps be splendid for a daughter to write a personal letter expressing affection to parents before the wedding day.

 

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title pic A Letter to a Daughter

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Wedding Letter

Wedding Letter

The present, the age of technology has stamped out writing letters to a friend, or relatives, most especially to your children.  The unique standards of writing a letter on stationery, the feel of textured paper, personally handwritten, and your own penmanship cannot be duplicated by the present electronic mails.

But as a parent, a father and mother at that, seeing the value of writing a letter to a daughter about to be given away for marriage, cannot pass up the chance to write one using the old fashion art of communication.

—————-

My dearest Isabel,

 You are about to unfold and enter into an important stage of your adult life.  The decision to enter a union that is most sacred and most serious.   By tomorrow it is in your midst with your conscious awaiting.  

Choosing a married life which you are about to undertake is a task difficult at the start.  For you, this is a voyage to the unknown, a voyage far more difficult than probably the voyage, we have undertaken by the intrepid adventures of the past that sailed into the unchartered seas with nothing but the courage and faith to guide us by.

Yes, life is an adventure, the most exciting and the most perilous of them all.  You can win it or you can lose it, but how well you can come out of it depends entirely upon you…  Your character, formed and nurtured by us, your family shall be your tools that you will need to cope with life.  The rest is up to you, in the quality of your choice in decision making, your common sense, and your zest for overcoming great barriers.   The adventures of life, that is.

Having said that you can now look forward to a life of marriage.  Also, I now give you my advice as guide posts to your new adventure.

First, begin deciding now how you will fulfill your long life.  Because of the boundless freedom of current society, it is important to decide now what you value most in life.  And you must begin to draw the pattern of your life accordingly.  Having this pattern, you can anticipate trouble before it arises, and decide how you are going to handle it. 

Secondly, decide on your values.  You must try to examine yourself now and find what it is you’re most ardent wish to be done in creating and sustaining a blissful family life.

If it is a career in combination with your married life you want, then now is the right time to decide and schedule your next years with your goal in mind.

Thirdly, there are few past times more pleasant than building castles in the air.  It is normal with the young but you must have in preparation for life, to build on something less airy and substantial.  In other words, have a plan.  Plan for your career and family wisely…  Plan for your future… And don’t forget to pray…

Best wishes, my unica hija…

 

Your loving parents,

                                                                                                              Daddy and Mommy

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title pic Philippine Wedding Superstitious Beliefs

Posted by admin on June 15, 2012

The Spanish colonization had one of its objectives the conversion of the local populace to the faith they believe and adhere to, the faith of Roman Catholicism.

In the absence of an organized religion, inferiority of the indigenous religion and fear sowed by the colonizers, the conquest of ignorant minds was easy to achieve.   And Islam, the religion predominant at the time, was rapidly overtaken in the minds and hearts.

Reinforcing the constructive work on the faith the religious order brought to our shore, along with tolerance on some indigenous religious customs; superstitions were incorporated leading to the corruption of the feeble mind of the locals.

Filipinos have developed superstitions that are related to marriage and weddings, as practiced and followed in any region and province.  The beliefs have formed part of the Filipino culture to caution altar bound couples from any untoward events in their wedding and eventually a life of marriage. Regretting at the end if mishaps do happen after all is non- negotiable for couples.

The following are some beliefs to delight the imaginative mind and for all altars bound pairs to ponder.

  • The bride leaves for church in a chauffeured driven white car with her father only riding along with the bride.  With the convoy of vehicles with the bride’s wife and the family members aboard, the bridal car should be timed in such a way that it arrives last at the church driveway
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title pic The Woman – A Bride to Behold

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Behold, woman, this is your day to take and to behold.

To a woman, the day of wedding is called, The Brides Day.  Perhaps it is.  The perception showing its biased opinion may hold true.

As a subject of thought, the cliché can best be reflected, alongside the physical and spiritual perspective.

It is a customary practice that when a bride sets foot on the church aisle, she is subjected under a magnifying glass to the prying eyes like a commodity or merchandise.   It seems like being dissected amidst the gathering of guest, visitors and family members as well.

They observe and note her demeanor and bearing or disposition.  From the way she wears her gown and the facial expression that she exudes showing either joy, happiness, contentment.

Rarely, is the groom given much attention or complimentary remarks on a matrimonial ceremony.

In the context of spirituality, it is an appropriate showing of a woman representing humanity.

The Book of Genesis describes, before the creation of Eve, the woman, Adam, the man was surrounded with all and any specie of living creature.   But Adam had no one looking like himself.    So, Yahweh the Creator in all his benevolence created a woman by taking Adam’s rib and filled its place with flesh.

The created woman was meant to be a companion and not a servant.   She was not taken from the upper part of the body nor at the lower part, but at the man’s side.  A woman created equal to the man, not inferior or superior.

The woman is the source of bringing forth the reality of humankind to procreate and multiply.  The woman represents the generation of humankind.   Man in its persona is defined to the role of stewardship of creation.

The prior existence of animals in the Garden of Eden has placed man in a state of preparedness to realize the unique value of a woman.  In Yahweh foresight, the principle of marriage is brought forth to make humankind grow in order to provide care and direction for and over human creature’s.

To state a wedding day as a bride’s day deserves enough admiration that no man can contradict.  The day of wedding is indeed meant for a woman to behold.

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title pic A Philippine Military Wedding

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There is that uniqueness in every military wedding.  It is a pleasure to see the bride in ecstasy to experience this once in a lifetime moment which not every woman will have the liberty to realize.

There really is nothing in particular to expect when it comes to a military wedding.   It’s just that the groom, a member of the military service, is wearing the appropriate gala uniform as required for such occasions.

Perhaps this is the only wedding ceremony where the groom is the center of attraction and not the bride.

The branches of military service in the Philippines are namely, the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy.

However there are protocols that need to be observed.  When it comes to the wording in the military invitations, a military etiquette is observed and followed strictly with respect.

Special considerations are also made as to the seating arrangements.    A high ranking military officer in this case, a Lieutenant Colonel and above, are seated in positions of honor at both the ceremony and reception.   By tradition, the officers are seated directly behind the bride and groom family while the ceremony is ongoing.

What defines and distinguish a military wedding from a civilian wedding is the arch of sabers.    But the arch of sabers is performed solely for commissioned officers.   The arch symbolizes the safe passage of newlywed couple into their new life as husband and wife. It is the highlight of any military wedding tradition.

After the wedding rites, the ushers line up on either side of the aisle in the church.   There are times, if the weather is fine; formation is done outside the entrance of the church.

At the command of the head usher’s “Draw sabers” they raise their swords into the air forming carefully an archway.   The newlyweds pass under the arch way and at the command “Return sabers” the ushers return their swords into their sheath at their sides.   In turn they escort the bridesmaid down the aisle, likewise.

Often the national colors and the distinguished flags of the branch of service walk directly behind the center of the receiving line.

This formation is performed again during the cutting of the cake.  The bearers are in formation in front of the cake.   The bride and the groom pass beneath the sword towards the cake.

Mostly, civilians are at awe and admiration as they watch the ritual by the side of the aisle.

Well, anyway, the only difference that one sees in this style of wedding is the tradition.  What is important is the fact that the center stage actors, the bride and groom, have officially taken their vows of marriage.

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title pic Recognition on Mixed Marriage

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Mixed marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman with different culture, religion, or nationalities.   It is the state of living together as husband and wife with norms of either the eastern or western hemisphere.

There is a need of a thorough examination if one is to enter the realm of marriage with someone not of your own.   The marriage of couples bearing different cultural background and nationalities can be intimidating if one’s character cannot cope up in balancing with conformity the cultures at hand.

Anyone who plans to settle down must think a hundred times regarding the subject of marriage.   One can never know if one’s marriage can be a life of bliss or a life of misery and sadness.

Filipinos are no longer seeing it strange to the idea of a mixed marriage.    Our Malay forefathers have contracted marriages with the Chinese, Spanish and American nationalities.   The conglomeration of the cited nationalities has brought about a Filipino genogram and culture unique on its own.

However, present time, evidences have exposed that our Filipino woman are at great risk when mixed marriages happen.    Some women are allured to mixed marriage due to financial consideration. Alongside, contrary to this notion are women indeed in love with a foreign partner that marriage proposals are heartily and freely accepted.

If a marriage is planned to occur in the Philippines, the requirements applied to our citizens as provided by the laws of the land is likewise the same in mixed marriages.    What is of utmost importance is that the wedding ceremony conducted in our country is recognized in the country the foreign partner was born.

There are instances that marriages done in the country are not recognized in the country of the foreign partner that permanent settlement is impeded.    So the purpose and the intent to live as a family create risk more so to a Filipino woman than to the man.  These factors can force plans to change dramatically.

The reality of mixed marriages cannot be avoided.   What can be avoided is to become a victim to mixed marriages happening to be a scam and fraudulent which puts much emotional strain to any Filipino.

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title pic Pre-Hispanic Courtships

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The customs and traditions of Filipino courtships are quite unique. So, may I invite you to come with me down memory lane and recall the courtships as practiced by our ancestors during the pre- Hispanic period.

It was customary among early Filipinos to thrust a spear onto the stair case of a woman he so desires.   It was an announcement of his intention to marry the woman.  The man calls on the village chief and elders and declares the woman he desires and likewise his intention.   The chief then sends a freeman to serve as a go-between to the woman’s house to negotiate the marriage.

The freeman takes the young man’s lance from his father’s house and proceeds to the house of the woman’s father and thrusts the spear onto the stair case and while holding unto it invokes the gods and their ancestors requesting the woman’s father acceptance on behalf of the man, their marriage proposal.

From there on the parents of both families will make the necessary marriage arrangements for their children.   However, customary law  dictates that a man’s parent  present and offer a dowry be it gold, jewelry, land, slaves  and farm animals, carabaos in particular , to the woman’s parent.

Owing to the value of the woman, rather than the price, the practice of the dowry system is deemed essential.    In general, within the village, a woman is considered of high value because of their skills in craftsmanship which is the source of revenue for every household.  Thus a loss must be duly compensated by the man’s family.

However, this tradition is now a thing of the past.   The influences of the Spanish culture alongside with modernization of the American culture have taken over the ancient tradition.

The foresaid scene explicitly reflects that even in the period of courtship, our ancestors have previously extended the due respect and value in a woman before the Spanish colonizers came to our shore.

Wondering aloud if ever such pre – colonial traditions still exists, at the moment, will marriages be intact in fulfilling the vow stated until death do us part?   Will the solidarity of a family as the basic unit of society upheld by our constitution be maintained?

Everyone’s guess is as good as mine.

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