Wedding Traditions in the Philippine Islands
Engagement traditions and marriage rituals are very important to Filipino culture. At one time, as a way of proposing matrimony, a man would throw a spear at the front of the house of the girl he wished to marry. This act would symbolize her unavailability, and begin the Filipino engagement process. The groom and his family would then go together to the bride's family to ask for her hand in marriage.
Wedding Day Traditions
Traditionally, a Filipino bride would wear her best dress on her day of matrimony. Her groom would wear the customary marriage clothes of black pants and an embroidered shirt, made of an almost translucent fabric. Orange blossoms used for wedding bouquets and church decorations were, and still are, very popular.
Today, a bride getting married in the Philippines might wear a white wedding dress on her day of matrimony, while her groom could be wearing a black tuxedo.
There are many witnesses or sponsors at the wedding ceremony, who have various responsibilities. The first witnesses pin the bride's veil to the groom's shoulder to symbolize the couple being clothed as one. Next, they hang a white cord around the couple's necks which represents the eternal bond between them. Then, two candles are lit on either side of a unity candle, which the couple getting married light together. Lastly, the groom gives his bride thirteen coins that have been blessed by the priest for a life of faithfulness and prosperity.
Traditional Filipino Wedding Reception
The traditional marriage celebration dance is the Pandango. Reception guests pin money to the newlyweds to help pay for the honeymoon. Often times, there is a bird cage decorated as a wedding bell with white doves inside. The newlyweds release the birds, symbolizing the bride and groom going off together in peace.