The Courtship and Marriage Customs of the Waray

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Topics: Marriage, Courtship
THE COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE CUSTOM OF THE WARAY
J. Colima Bajado* The Philippines as a whole abounds in quaint marriage customs and traditions. Written literatures from Fr. Pedro Chirino (1590s), Blair and Robertson, to Gregorio Zaide describe the pre-Spanish marriage customs of the Philippines. More writers like Fay Cooper Cole, John Finley, C.R. Moss and John Garvan have written on the courtship and marriage rituals of the various tribes in the country. On the marriage customs of the Warays, some vernacular writers like Iluminado Lucente and Juan Ricacho have written plays portraying the marriage customs and practices of the region. Younger generations in the Samar-Leyte region may not even know how their great grandfathers won the hands of their great grannies, in relation to the present “wer na u, dito na me” trend.

Tthe Illiterate Way of Courtship This kind of courtship has been practiced until the early 1900s. According to the narrations of Msgr. Alberto Almarines (1960s), illiterate young men in the rural areas, particularly in the hinterland sitios, observe this way of courtship passed to them by their great grandparents. Since they cannot read and write, actions, signs, signals, and even mimicries are flashed as costumarily understood to mean love. The man takes out an inarmidol (crisply starched) white handkerchief and waves it to the woman, who could only give concealed glances. Then the man will kiss the handkerchief and put it over his chest. This is done when the young man does not have the chance to talk to the girl. If the girl accepts the love offered, she smiles and nods. When she frowns, she declines the offered affection. And when her face is expressionless, she does not yet know the answer. When she accepts, the man will then ask her hand for marriage. When she shows indifference, he will either wait for the right time or simply forget her.

The Kulalisi Courtship This type of courtship commences as a game, and concludes for

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