Traditions and Beliefs

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A tradition is a practice, custom, or story that is memorized and passed down from generation to generation, originally without the need for a writing system. Traditions are often presumed to be ancient, unalterable, and deeply important, though they may sometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed. Some traditions were deliberately invented for one reason or another, often to highlight or enhance the importance of a certain institution. Traditions may also be changed to suit the needs of the day, and the changes can become accepted as a part of the ancient tradition.

Folk Beliefs, otherwise known as "Superstitious Beliefs", forms part of a people's value systems and culture. They basically reflect the customs, traditions, and mores of a group, which has been based on religious beliefs, opinions, or popular old practices. Also they tell of how a people view the unknown and the Means to appease the gods that control the future. Filipinos still adhere to numerous widely-held folk beliefs that have no scientific or logical basis but maybe backed-up by some past experiences (yet can be dismissed as mere coincidence). Some are still practiced to this day primarily because of 'there's nothing to lose if we comply' attitude while the others are totally ignored for it seemed downright ridiculous. A number of Filipinos have Folk Beliefs about life, family, luck, wealth, etc. Some of which were presented by the four groups last Monday, April 26, 2010. I have noticed that almost all groups presented folk beliefs about courtship and marriage. 

Courtship is one that is still being practiced among the strictest of the Filipino families. This is performed by the male (who is the suitor since it is wrong to do it the opposite way) visiting the home of the female. In the olden days, courtship doesn't start until the male suitor had obtained permission from the parents. This was done with the male suitor being accompanied by another respectable elder and approaching either the father or the mother of the female and obtaining permissions days in advanced to visit at a particular day and time. 

Nowadays this form of getting the parent's permission is still being practiced in the provinces, however, due to western influences, there are some variations more adaptable to the modern times. One alternative is to make a phone call, asking for the parents' or guardian's permission through an elder to schedule a visit. Another way is for the suitor to approach the parents in a public place, and informally asking for permission to visit. Either way, it is to show proper respect to ask for permission prior to the formal visit. Properly greeting the parents by placing the back of the right hand of the parents to the suitor's forehead is practiced to show respect. This is called pagmamano in Tagalog. 

When the permission has been granted, the suitor whether accompanied by a friend or an elder will visit the girl's home and offers gifts. Gift bags or boxes of goodies or Filipino snacks purchased from a local store and flowers are generally given. The snacks or other goods are offered to the family of the girl then the flowers and special sweets (like chocolate or candies) are given to the girl. In a strict Filipino home, during courtship, the parents are present during the first visit. This is the opportunity to get to know each other. This is sometimes called courting the parents first and winning their hearts and approval then letting the boy or suitor court the girl. Subsequent visits are then scheduled if all went well during the first visit and, depending on how long the courtship will last; the answer is given by the girl with the parents' knowledge as well. 

After the courtship stage and the girl decides that she also would like to take the suitor's offer of love and commitment, then the girl will give the favorable answer to the suitor. At times it takes months before the answer is given. In the olden days, strict parents would...
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