Filipino wedding traditions and how do they work in North America.
Filipino wedding traditions is an amazing sacrament of connecting not only two lovebirds, but also a fusion of family clans. The celebration is accompanied by colorful ceremonies. Each nation brings its own traditions to a wedding celebration, but in Filipinos, the creation of a new family particularly strongly reflects the entire cultural heritage.
I photographed my very first Filipino wedding for the first time back in 2016 and was amazed by the complexity of Traditions. The first time I came to the Filipino wedding I thought it’s ok to just photograph everything I saw. That would be good enough. After I learn everything I mentioned bellow I changed my mind completely. Only after I learned everything about Filipino wedding traditions I realized how important it is to have a great photos of the tea ceremony and why entire ceremony at the brides house as much important as the ceremony at the church.
What makes this wedding special and creates an atmosphere? The groom with the bride and their solemn outfits, Filipino national cuisine, mind-blowing dances, and touching ceremonies permeating the whole celebration. And of course – happy guests and give their blessing and best wishes to the young family.
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What is a traditional filipino wedding?
Traditionally, the celebration of a Filipino wedding lasts 3 days. Back in pre-colonial times, filipino marriage conduct by a babaylan (shaman), priest or tribal priestess.
The first day of the wedding was very responsible, because the future spouses came to the house of the babaylan, which served as a temple to receive the supreme blessing. An important attribute was a bowl of raw rice, over which the arms of the couple crossed.
On the third day of the celebration, a special ritual was held, with several drops of blood from the bride and groom placed in a vessel of water as a symbol of unity of childbirth, I’ve never seen this tradition performed today but that’s how it used to be.
After the couple confessed to each other three times of love, they tasted the rice cooked earlier from a single bowl and gave them to drink the Water of Unity of Childbirth. Further, the necks and hands of the young were bandaged with ropes, sometimes intertwined hair. At the conclusion of these rites, the couple was considered married.
As a result of Spanish colonialism, much of modern Filipino weddings have become Catholic. To date, the celebration consists of a main part – a Mass or religious service that takes place in the Catholic Church and a traditional reception in the restaurant.
Wedding rituals at the bride’s house.
On the wedding day, the groom and his family arrive at the bride’s house. This is where the first wedding rite takes place – receiving a blessing from the parents.
The tea ceremony is a common wedding tradition where the bride and groom pay their respects and express their gratitude to their parents, new relatives and elders by serving them tea. In return, their families bless the newlyweds by giving them “hongbao” (red envelopes with money). The bride and groom dressing in red national outfits.
Traditional church rituals
A special feature of the Filipino wedding ceremony is marked by the presence of “sponsors”. These are special guests who are part of the newlyweds life. Filipino couples often award these important guests with the title of main wedding sponsor or secondary sponsor.
The number of wedding sponsers are determined by the newlyweds themselves and can range from one couple to four. Often, these are uncles, aunts, or other members of the family who take part in Catholic church ceremonies: coin ceremonies, veil ceremonies, rope ceremonies and ceremonies with candles.
Coin Ceremony – Arras
The rite symbolizes a “cash gift” from the husband-to-be bride as a sign of her devotion and willingness to strengthen family well-being. The main attribute of the ceremony is gold or silver coins – Arras. One pair of sponsors must bring a box of arras down the aisle and hand over to the groom. The rite has a solemn and joyful message.
The ceremony symbolizes the unity of two people and also represents a sign of protection and good health of husband and wife. It’s similar to Vietnamese wedding. The Secondary veils sponsors solemnly cover the bride’s head and the groom’s shoulder, thus the pair find themselves under a single protective cover.
The main attribute is a strong rope in the form of an infinity sign. She should bring the couple a strong, happy and long union. Another pair of filipino wedding sponsors solemnly place a rope on top of the veil on the young as they receive a blessing at the altar.
Candle Ceremony – Candle of Unity
It is a final ritual to symbolize the bond of two people, and in Filipino culture, two families. Two small candles symbolize their individual lives until their wedding day.
Candles represent everything the bride and groom were in the past, and represent each individual family. Sponsors lighting them up and passed on to the newlyweds. Together, the bride and groom light a candle of unity, and individual candles blow out, figuratively speaking, extinguish their past.
Traditional Filipino wedding dresses
Bride’s outfit – Filipiniana
Amazing beauty dress! Filipiniana often consists of two pieces with huge butterfly sleeves. Made of high quality fabrics, often decorated with expensive embroidery.
The bride can choose both a curvy dress and an a line style wedding dress and an elegant fitted dress.
The main feature will be sleeve flashlights or butterflies. The open back makes the bride’s image tender and refined.
Barong is a traditional Filipino shirt that men wear only to important events. The barongs are usually made of light natural fabrics, in front are decorated with embroidery and have a U-shaped pattern (I really want one 🙂
Such shirts can be very expensive because they are made by skillful handcrafts by hand. The peculiarity of this outfit can be called that it is worn without filling – on top of pants.
Outfits of sponsors, parents
Men usually choose a Filipino barong or costume. Women dress up in formal or semi-formal dress whose length and color depend on the wedding subjects.
It is not acceptable for girls to wear white, as this competes with the traditional color of the bride’s wedding dress and is considered a bad tone.
It’s worth noting that at Chinese Filipino weddings, the bride is usually dressed in red. Wearing this color as a guest is a bad idea for the same reason.
The outfits of the friends of the bride and groom
It all depends on the color palette and the theme of the wedding. Often, in the invitation couple indicate the color scheme of the upcoming wedding, and bridesmaids pick up the outfits given these scheme.
At the end of the church service, the couple and all guests head to the banquet hall, the restaurant, to continue the celebration. There are also a number of traditions that need to be followed.
Filipino Wedding Reception
Official ceremony is over, the bride and groom swear to each other eternal love. Wedding photoshoot is done, and guests appreciating the culinary delights of the event, there is a time for the party. And here, too, was not without traditions. At the center of events – traditional dances.
Filipino wedding Money Dance
The money dance is also known as the “dollar dance”. Friends and families of the bride and the groom line up in separate sherengas and wait for their turn to dance with the bride and/or groom.
During the dance, guests with the help of pins attach money to the young. The sums collected during the dances symbolize the sign of luck, and is also the foundation at the beginning of the journey as husband and wife.
Filipino Folk Dance
The rich Filipino heritage includes a unique collection of classical dances that pay homage to Filipino history. These traditional dance performances usually include during dinner or at some point at the reception. Some of the folk dances include Ichik Ichik, Sayau sa Bangko and Pantomina.
In general, Filipino wedding traditions are a mixture of family traditions, incredible culinary masterpieces and continuous fun. It’s one of the Filipino events that remind you of how deep Filipino values are and how incredibly close-knit Filipino families are. When you have a chance to visit Filipino wedding, take a look carefully at all the details. Everything has a reason.
Typical dishes for Filipino wedding receptions
I had to include it because I am really fascinated with Filipino cuisine. Today, many weddings Filipino weddings combine traditional dishes with Western and Asian cuisines. Indeed, what is served at Filipino weddings is no less important than what the bride will wear. This is an impression that guests will remember for long.Consider six traditional Filipino dishes.
Lechon is a low-heat baked stuffed pig known for its crisp brown crust and tender meat seasoned with fragrant filling. There are several varieties of lechon: with lemongrass and pili nuts, which are used as filling in Lechon Cebu; green chili peppers, insisted on coconut milk in the Bicol region.
Although rice is a traditional garnish, Filippines have always loved noodles, especially pansit. Influenced by centuries-old Chinese settlements in the Philippines, it symbolizes a long life. Pansit is served with meat, seafood and vegetables. It is usually found in such variants: Canton (from egg noodles), Bihon (rice noodles) and Palabok (rice noodles with annato seed orange sauce).
A favorite dish in the Philippines. It is usually prepared from chicken or pork, boiled and stewed in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf and black pepper. Previously, when there was no cooling, this dish was preferred as it could be stored for several days without spoiling due to its vinegary base. Today, it remains a favorite at weddings and is indispensable if you want to introduce guests to Filipino cuisine.
The classic Filipino stew, caldereta, is always present at the big festivities. It combines beef cubes, potatoes, sweet peppers, green olives and cheese, while the meat is stewed in a spicy liver and tomato sauce until ready.
It is a local ice cream, as it is sometimes called. It is made from sweet milk, gelatin and fine stab ice. This “pouring” is covered with sliced fruit, sweet corn and the crushed heart of the saga palm. On top of the milk “pouring” is filled with purple color rice flour and rice flakes.
Filipino desserts are both a gastronomic and aesthetic feast that uses affordable ingredients such as rice, coconuts and cane sugar. Many of these can be categorized as cockanin (rice tortillas), which transform common malagkit (sticky rice) into colorful creations.
Kacanin types include biko (rice coated with a mixture of brown sugar and coconut milk), sapin (three-layer pudding, also seasoned with magenta batat and jackfruit) and puto (steamed rice tortillas with strips of cheese or savoury). egg).
The first time I came to the Filipino wedding I thought it’s ok to just photograph everything I saw. That would be good enough. After I learn everything I mentioned bellow I changed my mind completely. Only after I learned everything about Filipino wedding traditions I realized how important it is to have a great photos of the tea ceremony and why entire ceremony at the brides house as much important as the ceremony at the church.