The wedding is said to be one of the best days for a man and a woman who are about to be united in marriage. This becomes an extra special date as it becomes a community event. The Philippines is very rich in beliefs and cultural tradition. So rich that every ordinary and special event is marked by superstitions left and right.
Getting married is something that a couple in a romantic relationship looks forward to. Aside from the actual event, the preparation and planning stage is already an event on its own right. The couple becomes so busy in preparing for their biggest day… Until beliefs and superstitions from each side of their respective families and communities pop out and rule over the wedding planning.
Superstitions in the Philippines emanate from folklore even before the colonized era of the Philippines. They may have been made original, and/or borrowed, and mixed from the other cultures that the Philippines had interacted or traded with. The current system of superstitions in the Philippines is a boiling pot of belief systems and perspectives from the Malay, Indian, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, American, and of course the indigenous Filipinos.
Superstitions are a very powerful cultural property. They are a part of the belief system of a certain culture. They are always present, always watching, and always a part of the daily life. And because weddings in the Philippines are usually a community event, superstitions are also treated as guests.
There are at least fifty known wedding superstitions in the Philippines. However, this article will focus on the major and most known ones. Here is the list of the most famous superstitions and beliefs associated during weddings in the Philippines:
1. The bride should never try on the wedding gown. How in the world can the bride know that she gained weight or lost weight in the past six months since her body was measured? For the Filipinos, the trying on of the wedding gown is equal to the wedding not pushing through. Some say that accidents, calamities, and personal concerns will occur during the wedding day if the bride will try on her wedding gown. There is no mention about the groom trying on his outfit however.
2. The groom should arrive in the wedding venue first before the bride. No, it is not because the man is expected to show that he is a gentleman by being the one to wait. For the Philippine superstitious belief, if the woman comes first, it means bad luck for the rest of their marriage. Whatever happens, the man should be the first one to arrive.
3. Pointed objects should not be given as gifts for the couple. Knives, scissors, fountain pens, and any other pointed objects are not very good choices as wedding gifts for the couple. Superstition says that if a couple receives these kinds of gifts, their marriage is bound to be broken. A knife popping out of a gift box is like saying, “Your marriage will break.”
4. Grains of rice should be showered to the newlyweds after the ceremony. No, the superstitions do not say that guests should throw rice for them to eat rice forever. For the Filipinos, this gesture is a symbol of abundance. This act is like blessing the newlyweds and showering them with prosperity.
5. Prosperity and blessings abound when it rains. In a typhoon prone country like the Philippines, people always make it a point to give explanations for undesirable things that happen. Rains on wedding day spell disaster especially in an open area wedding venue. However, according to the superstitious beliefs, rain means happiness, prosperity and blessings for the couple. Rains mean good luck.
6. Long travels before the wedding date are prohibited for the couple. Travels and out of towns spell A-C-C-I-D-E-N-T-S for the couple. Superstitions say that the bride and the groom are accident prone before their wedding day. They should avoid going on long trips and riding on vehicles especially an airplane, a ship, a train, and a bus.
7. Dropping wedding elements spells bad luck. The wedding elements like the cord, veil, rings, and coins should never be dropped at any point during the wedding especially while the bearer walks down the aisle towards the altar. A loud gasp will be heard should some of these elements drop for they believe that it will bring bad luck and unhappiness in marriage.
There are a lot of variations when it comes to superstitions depending on a lot of factors. These factors include geographical location, primary cultural system, and origin and history of a certain place. Different provinces may define a single superstitious belief with different applications and time table.
In the application of a single belief, some culture may say that dropping the wedding elements brings unhappiness and bad luck only while walking down the aisle. Others will say that it is prohibited to be dropped the entire ceremony.
As an example of variations in time table, some culture may say that traveling is only prohibited a week before the wedding. Other places would say that it is prohibited for a month, a couple of months or even at the very start of the engagement.
The wedding that the soon to be bride and groom have looked forward to almost all their lives becomes a dreadful event because of these superstitions. In their minds they feel that it is as if the universe will conspire for their wedding not to push through. Constantly, the couple and their loved-ones should always keep track of the superstitions that they are about to break.
The Philippine culture had rehearsed applying these superstitions enough for the culture to be much adept and keen in giving hints and tips to the couple. Superstitions are said to be a culture’s way in keeping its members inside its own realms. For wedding superstitions, this is a way to check if the couple is willing and ready to follow traditions and culture.