Filipino Wedding Ceremony

A typical ancient traditional Filipino wedding, during pre-colonial times, is held for three days and was officiated by a babaylan, a tribal priest or priestess. The house of the babaylan was the ceremonial center for the nuptial. On the first day, the couple was brought to the priest’s home, where the babaylan blesses them, while their hands are joined over a container of uncooked rice. On the third day, the priest would prick their chests to draw a small amount of blood, which will be placed on a container to be mixed with water. After announcing their love for each other for three times, they were fed by the priest with cooked rice coming from a single container. Afterwards, they were to drink the water that was mixed with their blood. The priest proclaimed that they are officially wed after their necks and hands were bound by a cord or ,sometimes, once their long hairs had been entwined together. In lieu of the babaylan, the datu or a wise elder may also officiate a pre-colonial Filipino wedding.

After the ceremony, while at the just-married couple’s residence, a series of gift-exchanging rituals was also done to counter the negative responses of the bride: if asked to enter her new home, if she refuses to go up the stairs of the dwelling, if she denies to participate in the marriage banquet, or even to go into her new bedroom, a room she would be sharing with her spouse.

Barong Tagalog

Traditional Men's Wedding Attire

Spanish colonialism brought changes to these marriage rituals because of the teachings and conversion efforts of Spanish missionaries, which occurred as early as the 18th century. As a result, the majority of current-day Filipino weddings became predominantly Christian or Catholic in character, which is also because of the mostly Catholic population, although indigenous traditions still exist today in other regions of the Philippines. Parts of Filipino wedding ceremonies have become faith-centered and God-centered, which also highlights the concept that the joining of two individuals is a “life long commitment” of loving and caring. In general, the marriage itself does not only signify the union of two persons, but also the fusion of two families, and the unification two clans.


Requirements
The following are the legal requirements that must be met in order to marry in the Philippines. To be specific, the exact wordings as stated in Philippine marriage law are presented below:

  • Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female, 18 years old and above without any impediment to get married.
  • Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.
  • Authority of the solemnizing officer (only incumbent member of the judiciary; priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general; ship captain or airplane chief, military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation only in marriages at the point of death; and consul-general, consul or vice-consul only between Filipino citizens abroad are authorized by law to solemnize marriage).

Marriage law in the Philippines also requires couples to attend a seminar on family planning before the wedding day in order to become responsible family life and parenthood. The seminar is normally conducted at a city hall or a municipal council.
Some officiating ministers or churches require the couple to present a certificate of no marriage record (CENOMAR), on top of or together with the marriage license and the authority of the solemnizing officer. The CENOMAR can be secured from the National Statistics Office or its designated offices and branches.

The principal wedding sponsors  – also known as special sponsors, primary sponsors, counselors, or witnesses of the marriage ceremony  – chosen by the would-be spouses normally includes a multiple set of pairs of godparents (typically a total of 12 individual godparents composed of 6 godmothers or ninang, and 6 godfathers or ninong). Chosen secondary sponsors are made up of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and 3 more pairs of wedding attendants. The wedding attendants are responsible for the special parts of lighting the wedding candles, placing the veil and the cords on the couple being wed. Other official ceremonial participants are children, usually males, with the role of being the coin bearer and the ring bearer.



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