Filipinos have always observed traditions especially those encompassing weddings. It has been rooted in our minds that we have to follow a long list of customs for bad luck will beset the couple’s way, even if some seem to be absurd. Take those of sukob and wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue to ensure the wedded pair’s luck. Even though some are beyond ridiculous, it’s a pity that a number of these practices have already died out with time.
One of the aforementioned has been passed on from generations to generations, originally taught to us by Spanish colonizers. This is the Despedida de Soltera. The event features the celebration of the bride-to-be’s end of singlehood and the blessing from close members of her and the groom-to-be’s family. It provides a more wholesome and conservative way to bid the girl’s solitude goodbye than a bachelorette or hen party.
The despedida is commonly held a month before the wedding as to calm pre-wedding stress among the family. Usually both parties have been introduced before the gathering through pamamanhikan and the affair serves as a way to know each other more to avoid uncomfortable silences during the wedding day. They can choose to have a formal sit-down dinner or a casual fete filled with dancing and drinking.
As a rule, the bride’s mother or sister should host the said function for it they are celebrating her being feme sole. The toastmistress often slaves in the kitchen the day before to prepare sumptuous dishes that will sure to delight the guests as superstitions say that the deliciousness of the food will reflect the couple’s married life.
This generation hopefully resurrects this one-of-a-kind ritual as the Despedida de Soltera encapsulates the true Filipino essence of respect, hospitality and strong family ties through the congregation of two families that are bound by the soon-to-be-wed couple.