The Pamanhikan tradition

The Pamanhikan is a popular pre-wedding tradition among Filipinos. It probably dated back from the Spanish era (I really wouldn’t know), but regardless of which, it’s still being practiced today albeit sometimes informally. When I say “informally,” I meant that there are quite a number of variations done on the Pamanhikan of today—it has somehow already adapted to the modern times, and modern day of living.

Back then, Pamanhikan is the Filipino pre-wedding tradition where the families of the bride and the groom meet and plan the wedding. The romantic representation of this tradition would be the groom and his family formally asking the bride’s family for her hand in marriage. On a practical note, the wedding budget, the guestlist, and all other sorts of important details are discussed during this meet-up. The bride’s family hosts this event, and traditionally the groom’s family brings a gift for their hosts.

But as I have said, a lot has changed through culture evolution in time. Nowadays, parents of the groom and the bride no longer shoulder all the wedding expenses. In my case, Marc and I shouldered most of the expenses with some help from my mom and dad. And when this happens, parents aren’t the ones who plan the wedding, thereby resulting in change on the Pamanhikan tradition. Instead of being the ones planning the wedding, the parents give consult to the bride and the groom. They give advice on how to go about the plans, but basically leave the decision-making on the couple.

There can also be some changes on the location where the Pamanhikan is held. Traditionally, the event is held at the bride’s family home. But nowadays, the couple may opt to hold it in a restaurant or something. Marc and I held ours at a restaurant, Super Bowl of China in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.

Regardless of these variations in the tradition, most (if not all) Filipinos still practice this custom as a sign of respect for their elders. It’s still customary in our culture to seek the blessing of our parents who raised us. In some way or another, I like to think of this tradition of showing gratitude as well—gratitude (utang na loob) is common in the Filipino heritage. Through this tradition, we are able to express gratitude by showing respect to our parents who have whole-heartedly raised us.

Posted in Filipino Traditions, Pre-wedding


sherryl :

Thanks for sharing a little tradition. It’s nice to know. I was asking my sister about this because it’s not practiced in the US and I wanted to know more about it. So I researched online and found this site. The explaination was concised.

I get the main purpose of it. I’d like it to be practiced more, maybe if that happens with filipo families in the US, it’d be better, more like a family wedding instead of just between two people.

Ok ^^

@sherryl: Yup, it is. Wedding here in the Philippines is usually a merging of two families, not just the bride and the groom. I guess it’s because we’re big on families here 🙂

Hmm would love to eat wedding cake…missing it so much from our previous wedding..hehe LOL 🙂

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