Celebrating a Filipino wedding is a beautiful tapestry of traditions, customs, and symbols that reflect the rich culture and history of the Philippines. Among these rituals, three elements stand out the most for their profound symbolism: the candle, veil, and cord ceremonies.
With the various Filipino wedding traditions and meanings, we explore these three rites commonly performed at weddings. Understanding them will give you an insight into their importance and how they represent the unique aspects of love, unity, and commitment.
The Significance of the Veil, Cord, and Candle in Weddings
Performing wedding rituals is part of the celebration of joining two people in matrimony. Regardless of what your beliefs are, marriage rites are still part of weddings. So, to dive more into what the candle, cord, and veil stand for in Filipino wedding ceremonies, here’s an in-depth explanation of what they are:
The Unity Candle
The lighting of the unity candle is an emotional moment in a Filipino wedding ceremony. It symbolizes the merging of your and your betrothed’s lives, casting aside your former paths and embarking on a new journey together as a married couple.
- The Individual Candles: There are three candles used in a wedding ceremony: a large central candle and two smaller ones––which are either held by the couple or are at their sides.
The central candle represents the presence of God in your union while the smaller ones symbolize your individual lives and identities.
- The Lighting Ceremony: Early in the wedding ceremony, you, your betrothed, and your sponsors light the individual candles. This act symbolizes your separate lives before marriage.
Later in the ceremony, usually after the exchange of vows, you use the flames of your candles to light the central unity candle.
- The Merged Flame: This flame represents your commitment to become one in marriage as newlyweds. It signifies the light of your love, faith, and the presence of the divine guiding your path.
- The Intercession of Sponsors: In this ceremony, your sponsors play a crucial role. They act as your guides and witnesses, symbolizing the support and wisdom that you seek as you journey together in marriage.
The veil, known as the “mantilla” in Filipino culture, holds a significant symbolism in a Filipino wedding. It represents the profound union and protective love between you and your fiancé.
- The Veil’s Purpose: Traditionally, the veil is a piece of white cloth that’s draped over the bride’s head and shoulders, then eventually draped over the groom. This symbolizes that they are dressed to step into the world as one.
- Protection and Unity: The veil serves as a symbol of your commitment to protect and support each other. It signifies your intention to share your lives completely, facing life’s triumphs and trials as one.
- The Bond: During the ceremony, the veil is often draped over you and your betrothed’s heads or shoulders by your sponsors. It represents the physical and spiritual connection that your marriage creates.
- Holy Significance: Beyond physical covering, the veil is a representation of your faith in God’s protection and guidance as you navigate the unknown terrain of marriage.
The cord, often referred to as the “lazo” or “yugal,” is a significant symbol of the unbreakable bond and unity of a Filipino couple. It’s typically made of silk or flowers and is looped around the bride and groom in a figure-eight shape.
- Symbol of Infinity: The figure-eight shape of the cord symbolizes infinity, emphasizing the eternity of the love you share with your partner.
- Binding Together: As the cord is draped around you, it binds you together and signifies your commitment to support and care for each other throughout your lifetime.
- Strength in Unity: Just as a single cord is easier to break than multiple cords intertwined, the lazo represents the idea that strength and resilience are found in unity and togetherness.
- Sponsors’ Blessing: The cord is often blessed by your sponsors before it is placed on you. This blessing symbolizes your journey as one, seeking guidance and support from your mentors and God.
Ultimately, all three wedding elements are symbols that further emphasize your commitment to your spouse and marriage. It celebrates the new life ahead of you, and how you can navigate the rest of your lives together.
Choosing your wedding entourage is a decision you should prioritize since they play a significant role in these three marriage rites. Those you choose to celebrate your marriage with are people who should share your values and know the meaning of true commitment.
Incorporating the Candle, Veil, and Cord in a Wedding Ceremony
Including the candle, veil, and cord in a Filipino wedding ceremony involves a thoughtful and meaningful process. Here’s a guide on how you can include these elements in your wedding:
Select the Right Materials:
Choosing the materials for your candle, veil, and cord depends on the overall motif of your wedding. You can incorporate modern styles, use unconventional materials, or even use a Filipiniana wedding theme. Here are some material ideas for your candle, veil, and cord:
- Candle: Choose a unity candle set that includes a central candle and two smaller candles. You can personalize these candles with your names, wedding date, or other meaningful details.
- Veil: Select a veil that complements your wedding attire. It can be a traditional mantilla-style veil or a modern design that suits your taste.
- Cord: The cord can be made of various materials, such as silk, satin, or flowers. You can also mix and match these materials to match your theme.
Choose sponsors or “ninongs” and “ninangs” who will take on the role of guiding mentors and witnesses for the candle, veil, and cord rituals. These sponsors should be close family members or friends who hold a special place in your hearts.
Include Personal Touches:
Customize the candle, veil, and cord ceremonies to reflect your unique story and values. Consider adding personal vows or letters to each other during these rituals to express your love and commitment.
By following these few steps and infusing your personal touch, you can easily incorporate the three elements and create a profound and memorable experience that symbolizes your love and unity.