Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day in the Philippines

Valentine's Day is observed in the Philippines much as it is throughout America. Every girl or guy gives a card to everyone who is special to them. Many buy cards in the department store or make them at home to give out to those who are special in their lives. Flowers are also often given, usually red roses, but there is not as much emphasis on giving candy or chocolates as their is in America. Still, other little sweets, such as pastries, small gifts, such as plush toys, and cards are personally delivered or sent. In addition, many couples dress up to go out to nice restaurants for the evening, dance in the discos, or go to the movies.

A truely unique custom in the Philippines, though, is that of wearing RED on Valentines's if a person has no sweetheart with whom to share the day. A man or women observed wearing something prominent in the color RED signifies to everyone that they are available or need a partner. Much like in the West, however, many Filipino weddings are also scheduled on this day and churches are often reserved far far in advance and large group weddings take place at many city halls all across the country on this Day.

As just one example, during the end of January, 1997, my wife, Melba, and her family, attempted to reserve the Cebu City Metropolitan Cathederal for our wedding on Valentine's Day but learned the entire day was fully scheduled with one wedding after another throughout the day, throughout the day before and throughout the days after. Because of a weekend and Sunday services, February 18 was as soon as our wedding could be scheduled and the cathedral reserved. As a result, we celebrate our Wedding Anniversary on February 18. But, luckily with the arrival of Valentine's Day each year, I am reminded ahead of time that our anniversary is approaching!


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