Posted by admin on June 15, 2012
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.