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Customs and Unique Practices for Filipino Weddings

Filipino Weddings - wedding venues in Ronkonkoma NY.

There is no one standard format for a Filipino weddings because the Philippines is an archipelago that contains more than 7,000 islands and is home to many different peoples and traditions. Nevertheless, a strong sense of family and community is reflected in each one of our one-of-a-kind traditions.

But many weddings are also smaller/intimate and non-denominational. “Some Filipino weddings are large and follow traditional customs you may observe in the Philippines with a complete Catholic ceremony,” Some large-scale Filipino weddings adhere to customs you could see in the Philippines and include a complete Buddhist ceremony.

The following is a list of the usual customs that are expected to be observed at a Filipino wedding.

Wedding Announcements

The engaged couple travels from house to house, personally delivering their wedding announcements and distributing their official invitations to those who have been invited to the wedding. This is typically the time when the couple asks notable members of their community to be wedding godparents or sponsors, offering them small presents and refreshments as a thank you for their time and consideration.

Wedding Preparations

In Filipino culture, the day before a wedding event is dedicated to “Bayanihan,” or selfless acts of service for the greater good of the community. The family and friends of the bride and groom typically pitch in to help set up the reception hall, prepare the wedding dishes, and clear the path for the bridal party. Different cultures and religions have different traditions, such as making a particular sticky rice cake with precise wooden spoons and positions, holding traditional spiritual ceremonies, or having something similar to a rehearsal dinner when guests get to know one another.

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Parental Blessings

During the ritual, the couple asks their parents for their blessings by either kissing their hands or placing the backs of their hands on their parents’ foreheads. These two events occur simultaneously with one another. The phrases the parents say in response will vary according to their religious beliefs. At Filipino-Muslim weddings, the groom is expected to kiss the hand of his future father-in-law.

The 13 Coins

As a symbol of his commitment to the bride’s financial security, the groom presents her with a set of 13 coins known as the Arrhae. The coins are either tucked into a handkerchief, presented one at a time by the wedding sponsors and godparents, or flowed from the groom’s hands into the bride’s cupped palms; however, this varies from region to region. The custom of giving each guest a coin as a wedding present originated in Spain and is still widely practiced today, particularly in Hispanic and Catholic wedding rituals all around the world.

Lighting the Unity Candle

Two people who have sponsored the wedding light a pair of candles that are placed on either side of the couple getting married. After that, the couple takes a candle for themselves, and then they light the unity candle together, which symbolizes not only their union but also the union of their families.

Rice Shower

When newlyweds leave the church, rice grains are showered over them as a symbol of abundance and rain. This is often interpreted as a sign that they will be blessed in the future. In some parts of the world, the newlywed couple is subjected to yet another rice shower when they cross the door of their new house or the location of the reception. Rice is one of the most important crop staples in the Philippines, and it also has a sacred status. In ancient times, weddings in the Philippines were performed by priestesses who held the couples’ joined hands over a mound of rice grains. The newlyweds then cooked the rice, serving their first meal together as a married couple.

Sharing of Food

Even though wedding cakes are a traditionally Western tradition, it is common practice for Filipino brides and grooms to give their parents and elders the first slice of the cake. The newlyweds will be under their collective supervision and responsibility for a longer period of time as a result of this. In various parts of the world, a serious ritual takes place either immediately after the wedding feast or the day after the wedding event, during which small portions of the foods that were served at the wedding are presented as an offering to deceased relatives.

Wedding Performances

At certain Filipino weddings, the newlyweds will entertain their guests by dancing in the traditional styles of the country. The Pangalay is a vibrant and ornate wedding dance that is done in some Filipino-Muslim weddings. Another example is the Salidsid, which is a fun wooing dance performed by the Kalinga people of the Northern Philippines. Both of these dances may be found in the Philippines.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a Filipino wedding last?

A typical Filipino wedding celebration lasts three days. Pre-colonial Filipino marriages were performed by a priest, tribal priestess, or babaylan (shaman).

What is the culture of Filipino about marriage?

It is assumed that people would one day wed an excellent partner because marriage is seen as a milestone. In Filipino culture, having children outside of marriage is often frowned upon. As a result, many couples get married before having a kid in order to escape social consequences.

Can you wear black to a Filipino wedding?

All-black attire, very flashy, or overtly metallic clothing should also be avoided when choosing what to wear to a wedding. When you want everyone’s attention to be on the pair, you don’t want to appear overly flashy.

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