How do Filipinos celebrate weddings may sound strange to foreigners, but if they do get a chance to witness a traditional Filipino wedding, they will certainly love the experience. Weddings in the Philippines are never a one-day event. The wedding preparation takes months. And then comes the wedding day itself which in most cases begins from sun-up to sundown.

Filipino weddings are typically solemnized in the church, officiated by a Catholic priest or a pastor, depending on the religion of the couple. Garden weddings have become quite popular these days, too, but usually they are allowed only when it is not going to be a Catholic wedding.. If it is, the couple must have been married in civil rites first for them to obtain permission to get married in a garden or non-church setting.

Catholic wedding ceremonies, regardless of where thuey are celebrated, usually takes more than an hour to finish. The bride arrives in a bridal car, a carriage, or mode of transportation for that matter just minutes before the wedding. Then the church bells ring, signaling the start of the ceremony. The wedding ceremony begins with the processional of the wedding entourage composed of the groom, the parents of the groom, the principal sponsors (some have as many as 20 pairs of principal sponsors!) who will stand as witnesses, secondary sponsors who will light the candles, and put on the veil and cord, the maid or matron of honor, the best man, the bride’s maids and junior bride’s maids, the coin bearer, the ring bearer, the bible bearer, the flower girls, and finally the bride who may or may not be accompanied by her parents. Sometimes, the processional alone can take 20 minutes already!

The mass proper then begins; incorporated therein are the wedding rituals such as the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, and the giving of the arrhae. A photo shoot after the mass is customary. This can take another 30 minutes to one hour. If you want this portion to be organized, better get the services of a professional photographer who has vast experience taking wedding photographs.

After the wedding, the guests proceed to the reception. It can be in a hotel or in the bride’s residence. Hotel wedding receptions can be very expensive, but they can be less stressful for the couple and their families as they no longer need to stress themselves out any more than they already have. Wedding receptions held in the house are more comfortable and fun, though. All the neighbors get to be invited which make the affair very memorable. They are also less expensive, but can be more tiring.

During the wedding reception, the usual rituals, such as the slicing of the cake, the throwing and catching of bouquet and garter, and the releasing of doves, are observed, with some variations. There is an abundance of food, lots of table-hopping, greeting friends and guests, picture-taking, dancing, singing, and tears of joy.

So how do Filipinos celebrate weddings? Well, Filipino weddings are joyously celebrated, that’s for sure!

 

It is always interesting to study the history of weddings of different cultures. One can find that some of the old traditions have been carried forward to the current weddings.

In Italy, to this day marriages are not performed during Lent and Advent in May or August. Sunday was declared the best day for the marriage and June was (and is) considered the ideal month to marry. This is based on the Roman goddess Junio, representing safety of home, marriage, and childbirth.

In some families the marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. A male relative of the groom would visit with the father of the intended bride and ask for her hand in marriage. Sometimes a matchmaker was used to carry a message to the intended bride’s family. Once an agreement between the families was reached, the couple was declared engaged. The prospective bride was expected to immediately start gathering clothing (even for her future husband), furniture, and other items for the home. This became known as the bride’s ‘trousseau’. If the engagement ring contained gold it was not to be worn until she received the gold wedding band as it was seen as bad luck to wear gold without being married.

In olden times a great deal of the Italian wedding traditions consisted of warding off evil spirits. The groom would be sure to have something iron on his person to ward off the evil eye. The wedding veil was for the purpose of warding off evil spirits they may try to attack the bride and tearing the veil after the ceremony was considered good luck. The bride was not to have a complete bridal gown until the wedding day. It was to remain incomplete until she walked down the church aisle. Presumably a final stitch was made somewhere on the dress at the entrance of the church. The groom would wait at the front of the church and present the bride with a bouquet of flowers and herbs, to ward off the evil spirits.

At other times the groom would pick the bride up and walk her to the church. In this case a log and a saw would be placed in their path and they had to saw it into two pieces to show their union. If the bride walked to the church, without the groom, the local people often put things in her path such as a broom, beggar, crying baby. How she handled these items showed if she would be a good wife, mother, would be kind, etc.

In the ceremony the groom stood to the right of the bride, thus freeing his sword hand, just in case someone tried to steal his bride. Ten witnesses were required to make the ceremony official; hence the need for a large bridal party. They were dressed like the bride and groom to confuse the jealous spirits. The bride carried (and still does in most weddings) a silk or satin purse for guests to deposit their money gifts in as a way to help with the expenses. Another way money was raised was by the best man cutting the groom’s tie into pieces and selling them to guests at the wedding.

Following the ceremony the bride and groom were pelted with almonds (in mesh bags), three for children and five to seven to promote fertility. In ancient times a loaf of bread was broken over the bride’s head to represent fertility. At the end of the wedding the bride and groom broke a vase or glass into pieces with the number of shards representing how many years they would be married. Mothers-in-law sat at a table and kept a record of the repayment of favors or money which needed to be witnessed (this is still done in some of today’s ceremonies)

Most of the ceremonies started with mass in the early morning, followed by music and dancing throughout the night. Food was, and is, a large part of the wedding. Thirteen or more courses were ordinarily served (a large meal is still served at today’s weddings); this represented the union of the couple and their families.

It’s amazing how many wedding traditions still remain even though they may have evolved somewhat to reflect today’s society. Incorporating traditions based on heritage is often a good way to honor the old while celebrating the new.

Bhumihar caste includes the Brahmins. They are known as Bhumihar Brahmins. When the girl in their family reaches the age of wedding, they plan things. The search for the partner begins. If its an arranged wedding then the bride and the groom get married within the same caste. They get a chance to talk to each other and when they like each other, the talks are taken a step forward. In Bhumihar matrimony, you will see that the weddings have a lot of customs and rituals. Yes, they are quite interesting but they go on for a few days. Thus, when there is a wedding at home, you will see a few pre-wedding ceremonies too.

The pre-wedding ceremonies

In Bhumihar weddings, you will find a number of pre-wedding rituals. They are:

    • There is a tradition called as Siddhanth custom. In this, the priest sits and looks into the panchang to fix the wedding date. Also, he has to see panjis of both the families. These people also believe in horoscopes and that plays a key role in these weddings.

 

    • There is one more different and strange custom. A day before the wedding or the day of a wedding, you will see that the bride has to take blessings of a washer man’s wife. This is because it is believed that a washer man’s wife will always die before her husband and thus she would always remain suhagan.

 

    • On the day of the wedding, when the groom enters the wedding premises, the girl from the bride family would welcome him with sandalwood paste.

 

    • In this, the couple has to then go for the kul devi shrine. The bride’s father takes them. Thus, the groom would get a chance to seethe kul devi mandir of the bride’s father.

 

  • Gauri puja is also quite important as a part of Bhumihar matrimony. This is mainly performed to keep the evils away from the wedding ceremony.

Thus, you will find that there are some really interesting rituals as seen in Bhumihar weddings too. You will really find these rituals quite meaningful. Bhumihar is simple people. But they are quite strict about the wedding and the wedding rituals.

In the times when the younger generation is moving away from rituals, the younger generation of Bhumihar caste is still quite interested in the wedding in an authentic and traditional way. That’s the charm of Indian weddings. Just like other weddings, there is fun too involved in the wedding. Of course, you will also be able to find food and tasty food served to the guests in an authentic way. You should understand that wedding is the time when two families would unite. Thus, it is really an important ceremony. Thus, all the functions and events should be carried out properly. Bhumihar is simple Brahmins. But they are knowledgeable and educated. The bride and the groom are also well brought up and they know the relevance of culture and ethics too. That’s the reason why you can find these weddings more traditional.

Indian Weddings don’t symbolize mere marriage; the nuptial bond symbolizes loads of commitments, shared responsibilities and promises for life. The weddings in India are full of vivid events and rituals that continue for several days. Around 300-1000 people attend the weddings and the scale of wedding is thus so large that it seems that not just the two individuals get married but the two families. A majority of the wedding customs and traditions are similar in Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains.

The prospective groom’s parents approach the bride’s parents to ask them for the hand of their daughter to get her married to their son. If the bride’s parents agree to the proposal, the parents invite the Hindu priest to match the horoscopes and if the horoscopes agree, they ask the pundit to tell them a suitable date for the marriage.

The parents of the bride visit the groom’s house to formalize the wedding and perform the Tilak Ceremony. On the following day “Byaha Hatth” ceremony takes place and the unmarried girls apply a paste of turmeric, sandalwood and rose water to bride and groom at their homes. Till the wedding day, both the bride and the groom are not allowed to come out of their homes.

On the wedding day, the bride wears a red colored sari and the groom wears a sherwani companied with a pyjama or salwar and wraps angrakha around his neck. The groom and male members of the groom’s family wear pink turbans.

The groom rides on a horse and is accompanied by his baraat (procession) to the venue of the wedding. They receive a warm welcome from the bride’s side. The bride is escorted to the wedding hall by her close friends or sisters. Then both the bride and the groom perform garland ceremony and head on towards the wedding feast.

As per the timing suggested by the Hindu purohit, the Circumambulation of fire is done to finalize the marriage and then the bride’s parents do the kanyadan. The bride departs with the groom and is welcomed by her mother-in law holding a thali of Aarti. Several customary games are played during the evening hour. On the next day at night, a reception party is held by Groom’s side and a large number of guests are again invited to attend the feast.

The wedding is said to be officially over with the Reception party but after the wedding, the couple is invited for lunch/dinner at the relatives’ homes for the first time after their marriage. This is done to open their way for visiting the relative’s homes.