As an archipelago of over 7,000 islands with a variety of distinct cultures, there are plenty of Filipino wedding traditions. It should come as no surprise that there’s an abundance of Filipino wedding superstitions too. After all, we’ve had several other cultures influence the smorgasbord notion of being “Filipino.”
Today, many couples and families still cling to numerous widely-held wedding superstitions with no logical or scientific basis. However, your lola or tita may swear that most of them are indeed backed up by past experiences and as they say, there’s nothing to lose if you follow them.
If you want to play it safe on your wedding day, here’s a list of wedding superstitions in the Philippines.
Wedding Ring Superstitions
Don’t drop the ring during the ceremony
Be extra careful not to drop your ring during the ceremony. According to this wedding ring superstition, it’s bad luck. Some even believe that a dropped wedding ring is a sign that someone in the family will die soon.
Loose wedding ring = marriage won’t last long
Couples are encouraged to ensure their wedding ring measurements are the perfect fit. If you have a loose wedding ring, it symbolizes a careless act of thoughtlessness or forgetfulness that can lead to a failed marriage.
Tight wedding ring = extreme jealousy
We have the antithesis to the loose wedding ring. This wedding ring superstition implies that if a wedding ring is too tight, the couple will feel too constrained or restricted at some point in their married life, which may result in complex marital problems.
Before the Wedding Day Superstitions
Days or even weeks before the wedding, couples should avoid travelling or road trips for their own safety. According to wedding day superstitions, soon-to-be-wed couples are prone to accidents. Best to save your travels for the honeymoon!
Basking in wedding bliss together with a sibling sounds nice, but wedding superstitions in the Philippines say otherwise. Traditional Filipinos believe in sukob, a wedding superstition that sisters shouldn’t marry within the same year. If they do, the marriage luck they should each get in full will be divided between them.
So, if you don’t want to part the good luck in half, don’t forget to discuss your wedding date with your family members!
Just like in other cultures, it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other hours before the wedding ceremony. According to the wedding day superstition, laying your eyes on your partners before exchanging “I do’s” will bring bad luck or cause the wedding to not push through. This dates back to the time when arranged marriages were still prominent and grooms who didn’t find their wives attractive would call off the wedding.
Wedding Attire Superstitions
Now, this is one of the Filipino wedding superstitions that’s difficult to do! It’s a traditional belief that brides who try on their final wedding dress before the big day are doomed to experience bad luck. Some even believe that wearing the final gown during a dress fitting means the wedding won’t push through!
If you want to stay on the safe side, have your final measurements taken 1-2 weeks before your wedding and ensure you don’t gain or lose weight leading up to the big day.
Pearls = tears
Pearls are an elegant addition to your bridal attire, especially for brides who want a touch of elegance to their overall look. However, wedding dress superstitions imply that brides who wear pearls on their wedding day will live a miserable married life. This superstition likely originates from the myth that pearls are the tears of oysters, so they symbolize sadness.
Wedding Day Superstitions
No to Ladies First!
To avoid bad luck, the groom must arrive at the church first before the bride. This also stops the bride from getting stood up by her groom.
Candle in the wind
In a traditional Filipino wedding, the sponsors will light two candles, one on each side of the couple. It is believed that the person whose candle burns out first will die before the other.
Nowadays, most couples normally opt for flower petals or confetti to keep up with Western trends. But if you want to follow Filipino wedding superstitions, it’s best to throw rice at the newlyweds as rice represents prosperity.
Rain on my parade
If you’re holding an outdoor or garden wedding, rain can be a pain. But not in the Philippines! One of the most popular wedding day superstitions is that rain is believed to symbolize good luck and prosperity. Rain on your wedding day means good luck for your marriage.
After the wedding ceremony, the newly married couple should stand up at the same time. Otherwise, the one who stands up first will die before the other.
Wedding Reception Superstitions
Break for luck
Accidentally breaking something during the reception, be it a wine glass or a plate, will bring good luck to the newlywed.
If a bride wants to avoid trouble getting pregnant, she shouldn’t miss out on the first bite of the wedding cake! The cake symbolizes fertility and when it’s cut, the bride must have the first bite.
Clinking of glasses
When guests click their glasses during toasts, it is believed to drive evil spirits away from the happy couple. Loud noises will scare away evil spirits who are jealous of joyous celebrations.
Sticky rice cakes
Newlywed couples are usually served a small plate of sticky rice cakes or kalamay, given to them by a favorite aunt or friend. The sticky rice cakes are meant to symbolize that they’ll stick together through their married life.
Wedding Gifts Superstitions
Avoid sharp objects
Household items are often treasures for newlyweds, especially couples who will be moving together into a new home. However, not all household items are considered great wedding gifts.
In the Philippines, knives and other sharp objects are believed to bring bad luck. So, keep this wedding superstition in mind when you’re on the hunt for gifts! You don’t want to be a bearer of bad luck for the couple.
It may seem weird, but they say giving an arinola (or chamberpot in English) will bring good luck to both the giver and the newlywed couple. In old times, toilets were usually outside the houses as indoor plumbing was a luxury. Having an arinola indoor was a convenience for many.
Influenced by the Filipino-Chinese community, giving a couple a clock as a wedding present is bad luck. It sends the signal that you’re waiting for them to die. Yikes!
Study Up On These Filipino Wedding Superstitions Before the Big Day
Once you’ve crossed off all the things in your wedding checklist, don’t forget to take note of the superstitious beliefs about marriage in the Philippines. We’ll never know for sure if the beliefs are true but if you want to appease your traditional relatives, it won’t hurt to keep them in mind.
But whether or not you follow the wedding superstitions listed above, remember that the fate of your marriage solely rests on you and your partner. As long as you love each other, your marriage will stand the test of time, just like all these Filipino wedding superstitions.
Author: Chryss Segovia
Chryss loves ice cream, literature, and East Asian pop culture. She would like to pet your dog.