COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE IN THE PHILIPPINES
(A Concept Paper)
Marienne P. Herrera
DEFINITION OF TERMS
* COURTSHIP- Traditional courtship in the Philippines is described as a "far more subdued and indirect" approach compared to Western or Westernized cultures. It involves "phases" or "stages" inherent to Philippine society and culture. Evident in courtship in the Philippines is the practice of singing romantic love songs, reciting poems, writing letters, and gift-giving. This respect extends to the Filipino woman’s family members. The proper rules and standards in traditional Filipino courtship are set by Philippine society.
* WEDDING- Traditional marriage customs in the Philippines and Filipino wedding practices pertain to the characteristics of marriage and wedding traditions established and adhered to by Filipino men and women in the Philippines after a period of courtship and engagement. These traditions extend to other countries around the world where Filipino communities exist. Kasalan is the Filipino word for "wedding",while its root word –kasal – means "marriage".
* CULTURE- is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator, Cicero: "cultura animi". The term "culture"appeared first in its current sense in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, to connote a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture or horticulture.
COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THEIR BACKGROUND
COURTSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES
In Philippine culture, courtship is far more subdued and indirect unlike in some Western societies. A man who is interested in courting a woman has to be discreet and friendly at first, in order not to be seen as too presko or mayabang (aggressive or too presumptuous). Friendly dates are often the starting point, often with a group of other friends. Later, couples may go out on their own, but this is still to be done discreetly. If the couple has decided to come out in the open about their romance, they will tell their family and friends as well.
In the Philippines, if a man wants to be taken seriously by a woman, he has to visit the latter's family and introduce himself formally to the parents of the girl. It is rather inappropriate to court a woman and formalize the relationship without informing the parents of the girl. It is always expected that the guy must show his face to the girl's family. And if a guy wants to be acceptable to the girl's family, he has to give pasalubong (gifts) every time he drops by her family's house. It is said that in the Philippines, courting a Filipina means courting her family as well.
In courting a Filipina, the metaphor often used is that of playing baseball. The man is said to reach 'first base' if the girl accepts his proposal to go out on a date for the first time. Thereafter, going out on several dates is like reaching the second and third bases. A 'home-run' is one where the girl formally accepts the man's love, and they become magkasintahan (from sinta, love), a term for boyfriend-girlfriend.
During the old times and in the rural areas of the Philippines, Filipino men would make harana (serenade) the women at night and sing songs of love and affection. This is basically a Spanish influence. The man is usually accompanied by his close friends who provide moral support for the guy, apart from singing with him.
Filipino women are expected to be pakipot (playing hard to get) because it is seen as an appropriate behavior in a courtship dance. By being pakipot, the girl tells the man that he has to work hard to win her love. It is also one way by which the Filipina will be able to measure the sincerity of her admirer. Some courtships could last years before the woman accepts the man's love.
A traditional dalagang Pilipina (Filipinpa maiden) is someone who is mahinhin (modest, shy, with good upbringing, well-mannered) and does not show her...
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