Philippine culture is rich with beliefs and superstitions, including those that shape our wedding traditions. While many of these traditions are symbolic and ceremonial, some practices have foreboding warnings that warn wedding couples against marrying at a certain time altogether. One such superstition is the belief in the sukob, or a wedding curse.
Recently, my sister’s father-in-law-to-be passed away unexpectedly. They were scheduled to have a small civil wedding in March 2021, but because of this passing, they’ve decided to delay the wedding to next year. Part of it was because no one was obviously in a merry mood to celebrate a wedding two months from now. But another reason was because of the superstition of sukob that advised against marrying during circumstances like these.
So, for superstitious couples who want to avoid bad luck on their wedding day, here’s what you need to know about sukob.
What Is Sukob?
Sukob (in English: “conflict”) is a superstition that warns couples against marrying during a year where one or both of these events happen. First, it’s considered bad luck for sisters to marry within the same year. Second, it’s also bad luck for a couple to marry within the same year of the death of an immediate family member.
There are several meanings behind the sukob belief. It’s believed that sisters should not marry within the same year because instead of getting plenty of luck for the marriage, the luck is divided into two for both sisters. On the other hand, those who push to continue their wedding even if an immediate family member died the same year is said to be bringing bad luck onto their marriage.
Is the Sukob Superstition True?
Like a lot of Filipino folklore and superstition, there’s no evidence to support or back up these claims that sukob is a real phenomenon. However, like a lot of Filipino beliefs, I think that sukob may have stemmed from logical or practical reasoning.
For instance, if an immediate family member dies, it seems unlikely that a couple will want to continue their wedding, a happy and joyous occasion, without their loved one. Waiting for the next year may seem like the appropriate thing to do to give themselves and their families enough time to mourn the deceased member before they can think about celebrating.
As for siblings marrying within the same year, some think there’s actually a practical reason behind having siblings marry in different years. If two siblings schedule their wedding dates too close and are inviting relatives that live abroad or in the provinces, it can be difficult for their guests to find time off to attend both weddings. So, these relatives may be forced to choose which wedding to attend. It may also be financially unfeasible for guests to attend both weddings. Instead of having the weddings scheduled close together, one sibling can schedule their wedding for the next year when guests have more time to plan ahead for a second wedding.
Sukob in Popular Culture
When you hear the term “sukob,” you might be thinking about that 2006 horror film starring Kris Aquino and Claudine Baretto. In the film, two women marry their partners one day apart from each other, and supernatural events and bad things happen to them, their spouses, and their friends and families. The two women are revealed to be half-sisters, and because they married within the same year, they are cursed with bad luck.
Like with any Filipino horror movie though, it’s best to take this film with a grain of salt. While it is an entertaining movie, it is still fictionalized and an exaggerated take on the sukob superstition.
Other Wedding Superstitions That Bring Bad Luck
Here are a couple of other wedding superstitions to follow if you want to avoid bringing bad luck on your wedding day or the rest of your marriage.
- It’s bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. This is actually a superstition based on the old western wedding practices. Back when arranged marriages were normal, the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other at all before the ceremony because the bride’s father feared that the groom would not like the bride and call off the wedding, which would bring shame to the bride’s family. Today, this is still followed simply because many brides want to surprise their grooms when they walk down the aisle.
- The groom has to carry the bride over the threshold of their new home’s front entrance to prevent bad luck. According to Bridal Guide, there are two possible sources for this superstition. Back in Medieval Europe, it was considered scandalous for a woman to look excited about losing her virginity, so her husband carrying her in avoided making her look eager to consummate the marriage. In Western Europe, it was believed that if a bride trips over the threshold when she first enters the house, the marriage would be unlucky. To prevent that, the groom will be the one to carry her in. Today, couples that practice this do so more as a romantic gesture, though some couples opt to skip this and instead step over the threshold together.
- Brides should not wear pearls to their wedding. Pearls are considered “tears of oysters,” so wearing these to your wedding will bring tears to your marriage.
- Trying on the wedding dress outside of fittings. Brides are allowed to wear their wedding gowns during fitting. But outside of fittings, wearing the gown before the wedding is bad luck.
Whether or not you believe in sukob superstition for your wedding is up to you. If you don’t believe in it, expect that you may get a few comments from people if you choose not to postpone your wedding – how you handle that is up to you. But if you’re the superstitious type and want to avoid bad luck for your wedding and your marriage, you should be aware of the sukob and a few other superstitions that could affect your wedding.
Author: Justine Lubag
Justine loves costumes, puns, horror films, and blue dresses. A literature graduate from the south, she writes online content for a living but is super shy about others reading her fan fiction.