28 May 2008

Elements of the Filipino Wedding

Essential Elements of the Filipino Wedding
Filipino weddings are reflective of the importance we give to the people in our life– from our family to our friends to our mentors and other people we look up to and respect. It is our symbolic representation of the bonds we have with these people that makes the Filipino wedding distinctive, extending its involvement beyond the usual bridal party. Here, we list down some of the more important elements present in every Filipino wedding:

Ninong and Ninang. Oftentimes also known as the ‘principal sponsors’ of the wedding, Ninongs and Ninangs are usually selected from a roster of aunts and uncles and close family friends to the couple. Their number may range from a single pair to five or more. The couple’s Ninong and Ninang serve as the official witnesses of the state to the couple’s union and as such, have to join in signing the marriage license. In the early days of the Church, their participation was seen as a testimony to the couple’s readiness for marriage. These days, they are expected to provide guidance and to serve as shining examples to the couple in their married life.

Coin Sponsors. One of the four secondary sponsors (the others being the veil, cord and candle sponsors), the coin sponsors are a pair or a child (in this case, the coin bearer), selected by the bride and groom to present the wedding coins or ‘arrhae’ during the ceremony. Arrhae, also known as ‘arras’ (Spanish for ‘earnest money’), are thirteen silver or gold coins meant to signify the couple’s future prosperity and their commitment to mutually contributing to their family and the community. They are first blessed by the officiating priest, and then given to the couple to share or pass from one to the other.

Candle Sponsors. Candle sponsors are the people, sometimes both the bride and groom’s parents, chosen to light the candles on the altar. The candles’ light symbolizes the Light of Christ which indicates God’s presence in the couple’s union. In some ceremonies, the flames from the sponsors’ candles are used by the couple to light a unity candle also placed at the altar.

Veil Sponsors. Veil sponsors are responsible for placing a single veil over the shoulders of the couple during the ceremony. The veil, usually long white tulle, is pinned on top of the bride’s head and onto the shoulders of the groom. It serves to represent unity as the bride and groom are now ‘clothed as one’ in their union.

Cord Sponsors. After the draping of the veil, cord sponsors can now place a cord (may be a silken rope, a string of flowers or a link of coins) over the heads of the couple, to lay loosely over their shoulders. The cord, or the ‘yugal’ as it is sometimes known, is twisted into a figure-eight shape to symbolize everlasting fidelity and the lifelong bond between the couple.

The sequence for the respective rituals involving the wedding sponsors usually varies from ceremony to ceremony and it is usually wise to check first with the church if they have any set routine. However, in general, the lighting of the candles takes place first, either before the readings or at the beginning of the ceremony. The sharing/exchange of the wedding coins is done before or immediately after the exchange of rings. This is usually followed by the placing of the veil, just before the General Intercession, as the couple is instructed to kneel side-by-side. Finally, the placing of the cord follows once the veil is in place. Both the veil and the cord have to remain as the couple continues kneeling until after the Communion. If, however, the couple wishes to participate in the Sign of Peace, then the veil and cord can be removed immediately after the nuptial blessing.

***Source: Manila Bulletin Online

1 comment:

ugid said...

Why does the veil cover the bride's head but not the groom's (veil gets pinned on groom's shoulder only)? What does that symbolize?

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