Tying the Knot: A Journey Through Filipino Wedding Traditions

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Tying the Knot: A Journey Through Filipino Wedding Traditions

The Philippines, a nation known for its stunning landscapes and warm hospitality, is equally renowned for its rich tapestry of wedding traditions. Filipino wedding customs are a beautiful blend of indigenous, Spanish, and American influences, creating a unique and heartfelt celebration of love and culture. From the courtship rituals to the exchange of arrhae, Filipino weddings are a journey of love and heritage. In this article, we’ll immerse ourselves in the captivating world of Filipino wedding traditions, uncovering their origins and understanding the profound meaning they continue to hold in contemporary ceremonies.

Pamamanhikan: Seeking Blessings and Permission

In Filipino tradition, the road to marriage begins with the pamamanhikan, a formal visit by the groom’s family to the bride’s home. This visit serves to seek her family’s blessing and permission for the union. It is a gesture of respect and a way to foster strong familial bonds. Often, the groom’s family brings gifts, symbolizing their intention to take care of the bride.

The Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana Gowns: Elegance in Tradition

The attire of the bride and groom is an integral part of Filipino weddings. The groom wears a Barong Tagalog, a traditional embroidered shirt, while the bride dons a Filipiniana gown. These garments represent the rich heritage of the Philippines and are a celebration of Filipino craftsmanship and artistry.

The Candle, Cord, and Veil Ceremonies: Uniting in Faith

The candle, cord, and veil ceremonies are at the heart of Filipino weddings. In the candle ceremony, the couple lights two individual candles that symbolize their individual lives. They then use these candles to light a single candle, signifying their unity in marriage.

The cord ceremony involves draping a cord or a rosary in a figure-eight shape over the couple’s shoulders. This symbolizes their bond and the lifelong connection they share. The veil ceremony is when sponsors drape a white veil over the bride and groom’s shoulders, signifying their union and the protection they offer to each other.

The Exchange of Arrhae: Pledging Financial Partnership

The arrhae, a set of 13 coins, represents the couple’s commitment to support one another financially. The groom gives these coins to the bride during the wedding ceremony, symbolizing his promise to provide for their family. It is a beautiful gesture of trust and partnership.

The Yugal or Infinity Candle: Unbroken Love

The yugal, also known as the infinity candle, is a pair of candles joined by a single string or ribbon. These candles represent the couple’s shared life and love, bound together like an unbroken circle. This candle is often lit during the ceremony and serves as a lasting symbol of their enduring commitment.

The Money Dance: Blessings and Well-Wishes

In Filipino weddings, the money dance is a lively and cherished tradition. Guests pin money onto the bride and groom’s attire as a way of offering their blessings and well-wishes for the couple’s financial prosperity. It’s a fun and celebratory custom that adds a touch of merriment to the festivities.

Filipino Wedding Feasts: A Feast of Flavors and Family

Filipino wedding feasts are renowned for their sumptuous array of dishes. From adobo and lechon to pancit and kakanin, the culinary traditions of the Philippines take center stage. These delectable dishes are not just a celebration of taste but also a testament to the strong sense of family and togetherness that defines Filipino culture.

Santacruzan: A Religious Procession

In some regions of the Philippines, particularly in the Visayas, the Santacruzan is a religious procession that takes place during the wedding. It is a colorful and grand affair, where participants dress as various biblical and historical figures, and the bride often portrays Reyna Elena, the mother of Constantine the Great. This procession is a unique blend of faith, culture, and history.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Are Filipino wedding traditions consistent throughout the country?While there are common Filipino wedding customs, some regional variations exist, adding diversity and richness to these traditions.
  2. How do modern Filipino couples adapt traditional customs into their weddings?Modern Filipino couples often blend traditional customs with contemporary elements, creating unique and personalized wedding ceremonies.
  3. Can non-Filipino couples incorporate these traditions into their weddings?Filipino wedding traditions are not exclusive to Filipinos. Many couples from diverse backgrounds choose to include these customs in their weddings as a way to celebrate the culture and add a touch of Filipino warmth to their special day.
  4. What is the significance of the number 13 in the arrhae ceremony?The number 13 in the arrhae ceremony represents Jesus and the twelve apostles. It symbolizes the couple’s commitment to their faith and their willingness to share their lives together.
  5. What is the role of sponsors in a Filipino wedding?Sponsors, often close family members or friends, play a significant role in Filipino weddings. They help guide the couple throughout the ceremony and offer their wisdom and support.


Filipino wedding traditions are a vibrant tapestry of customs that blend indigenous, Spanish, and American influences. These traditions celebrate the rich culture and strong family ties of the Philippines. From the pamamanhikan to the arrhae, Filipino weddings are a beautiful reflection of love and heritage. In this article, we’ll explore the enchanting world of Filipino wedding traditions, from their origins to their significance in modern ceremonies. We’ll also address frequently asked questions and provide you with five authoritative source links for further exploration.

Source Links:

  1. The Knot – Filipino Wedding Traditions
  2. Kasal – The Filipino Wedding
  3. Weddings in the Philippines – Cultural Traditions
  4. Culture Trip – A Guide to Filipino Wedding Traditions and Customs

In this article, we’ve explored the enchanting world of Filipino wedding traditions, uncovering their origins, significance, and enduring appeal. From the pamamanhikan to the money dance, these customs are a testament to the Philippines’ rich culture and deep sense of family. Whether you’re planning a Filipino wedding or simply curious about these beautiful traditions, they offer a glimpse into a love-filled journey.

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