Monday, May 31, 2010

Dancing for Money

My neighbor got married this past weekend! I get invited to a bunch of things; birthday parties for people I don't really know, weddings for old white guys, but finally, a joyous celebration for somebody that I've come to know and like here in town! So fun!!

Weddings here have a lot of similarities with those back home, and then some differences. I think I mentioned another wedding (not the infamous old white guy one I attended, but a more age appropriate one) a while back, but this time I got some pictures to go with it to help explain.

Here is part of the bridal party. There are the traditional flower girls, ring bearers, bible bearers, bridesmaids, and then the Filipino addition of the ninong and the ninang. Ninongs and Ninangs (the adults in the pictures above) are the "sponsors" of the couple. They are entrusted in guiding the newlyweds or supporting them as the need be. It's really an acknowledgement of respect for the people in your life on your special day as the bride and groom. I really LOVE this idea. Respect here in the Philippines is something that always impresses me. Asking someone to be a sponsors is just another way that it is shown here. This picture also shows the traditional formal wear for men. It's a special lightweight, embroidered shirt known as a barong. I think women should totally steal the barong idea... they seem way cooler than the heavy, lined skirts the women must wear in the 100 degree weather!

Here you have the signing of the marriage license. You also can see the electric fans going full speed and just a few members of the photography team. When I say there was a team, I mean this event could have been confused with a paparazzi scene. Documentation... so very important in the Philippines :) Also, married in the Catholic church... it's soooo final.

And finally, the money dance! During the reception you see many of the same traditions that an American wedding would have; slicing of the cake (although no cake fights), sharing wine, releasing of the doves (maybe in days past in America), and toasts of well wishes. A unique Filipino tradition is the money dance. The couple shares a dance as husband and wife, and as they dance, pins are passed out so guests can come up and pin money on the bride and groom. It's to get the couple off on a prosperous start... and so much more convenient than all those giftcards Americans hand out!

Well, there you have it, a Filipino wedding in a nutshell!

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