Wednesday, December 21, 2016

SOME QUEER PHILIPPINE CUSTOMS (Elementary-Intermediate level)

The occurrence of a death in a Filipino family in Bulacan is the signal for an immediate celebration. "Our brother has gone to a happy land, and we must rejoice," they say. Relatives and friends are invited to come, and an orchestra is summoned. Then the dancing and feasting begin, and continue until the time of the funeral, which in this climate takes place within twenty-four hours.
Those who have the means buy a black cloth-covered casket ornamented with spangles and bows of bright blue ribbon. The poor rent the "town coffin," a plain tin box, evidently designed for those of medium stature, for a year or two ago, in a funeral procession, the feet of the deceased, incased in bright blue plush chinelas, were seen sticking out at one end.
The orchestra heads the procession through the streets, usually playing some lively air learned from the American soldiers. The popular funeral music is "A Hot Time," and it keeps the procession moving at a brisk pace.
Thursday is the favorite day for weddings in Bulacan, as it is "bargain day" in the matrimonial market. On Thursdays the priest marries many couples at a time, and consequently at less expense to each couple.
Four o'clock in the morning is the favorite hour. Following the ceremony the newly married pair return to the bride's home, where dancing and feasting ensue till sundown.
A bride to whose wedding feast some Americans were invited had a romantic prelude to her nuptials. The parents of the bride were strenuously opposed to the match, owing to a strong disinclination on the part of the groom to do any sort of labor. So Anastasia was sent up into the mountains to visit among relatives, and traces of her whereabouts were carefully concealed from Felicidad, the groom elect.
But Felicidad, although too indolent to support his prospective bride, did not purpose that another should win her, so he summoned several faithful friends to his aid and began an active search. His devotion was rewarded with success, and three weeks later Felicidad returned in triumph, with radiant Anastasia borne aloft on the shoulders of two of his trusty friends. The following Thursday, in company with fifteen other happy couples, they were married.

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