Wedding Traditions of the Pacific Islands and Hawaii

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Wedding Traditions of the Pacific Islands and Hawaii

Wedding traditions throughout the world have many similarities, and yet many have their own twists based on the culture in which they have lived for many generations. It can be anywhere from cultural to spiritual, but in the end, it all comes down to the joining of two people.

Wedding traditions in the Pacific Islands and in Hawaii are no different, as they are very entrenched in cultural traditions and styles in everyday life, which includes wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Hawaiian Islands

In Hawaii, the islands are known for their flowers. When made into a garland, and added ribbon, you now have the Hawaiian Lei. Lei are placed over the necks of both the groom and the bride and that symbolizes respect and love.

Lei come in various forms and sizes. They can be made from very fragrant and beautiful flowers or they may also have some kind of meaning. For example, a lei made out of apple seeds or other seeds may represent the seeds to a new life. Lei are often worn at most celebrations on the islands and also just for recreation and enjoyment.

Generally both the groom and the bride dress in pure white clothing, while the groom includes either a black cloth belt or a red sash around his waist. In addition, it is customary to have the couple’s names engraved on their gold wedding bands.

No Hawaiian wedding reception is complete without the traditional playing of the Hawaiian Wedding Song.

Hawaiian Wedding Song

This is the moment
I’ve waited for
I can hear my heart singing
Soon bells will be ringing

This is the moment
Of sweet Aloha
I will love you longer than forever
Promise me that you will leave me never

Here and now dear,
All my love,
I vow dear
Promise me that you will leave me never
I will love you longer than forever

Now that we are one
Clouds won’t hide the sun
Blue skies of Hawaii smile
On this, our wedding day
I do love you with all my heart

Philippine Islands

North American weddings generally assign certain people tasks for the wedding and reception. However, on the Philippine Islands, every family member, friend and anyone else attending the ceremony each have some responsibility of carrying out part of the tradition.

One interesting tradition that takes place during the ceremony is the bride’s veil is pinned to the groom’s shoulder, which symbolizes the couple clothed as one. Then a cord, which is pure white, is placed around the bride and groom’s necks to represent an ever-lasting bond together.

Then in an effort to symbolize the promise of prosperity and faithfulness, the groom presents to his bride 13 gold coins that have had the blessing by the priest.

At the reception, there are many traditional dances that are performed, but the most traditional is the Pandanggo sa Ilaw. Pandanggo, for short, is derived from the dance Fandango, which comes from the Spaniards. This dance includes the skill to balance and keep stable the three oil lamps known as Tinggoys. There are many steps and clapping going on during the Pandanggo sa Ilaw.

Of course no, reception would be complete without the traditional releasing of white doves from a decorated birdcage that resembles a wedding bell. Like in many cultures, the doves represent the symbol of the young couple starting a new life together in love and in peace.

Fiji Islands

In Fiji, the tradition of the father of the bride being asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage by the young man still exists. In addition to that, it is custom for the potential groom-to-be to present a gift to him as well. Fiji’s custom suggests that the gift is that of a whale’s tooth, as the tooth represents wealth and status.

If the gentleman gets the permission he seeks, he is then expected to “warm” the bride’s family. Warming is a custom where the groom prepares a well-to-do feast and sends it to the bride’s family.

Other Fiji wedding traditions include:

– The bride to be tattooed just before the wedding. This signifies the beauty of the islands.

– A gift exchange that takes place between the families of both the groom and the bride.

– Drinking the traditional drink of the Fiji Islands, Kava. Made from the root of the Kava plant after the root has been crushed.

As with any wedding ceremony across the world, you will find many similar things. However, with each culture, you will also find traditions of past generations that are very different and still alive today.