Filipino Wedding Traditions – Candles, Coins, Veil and Cord

imageThere are traditional Filipino Catholic wedding customs that involve candles, coins, a veil and cord.  Here’s what each means…

The Candles – The lighting of the candles usually takes place at the beginning of the ceremony.  One person from each side of the family lights a candle symbolizing God’s presence at the union.  Sometimes the couple will then take those lit candles and light a third candle together, signifying that their families are united through them.  The third candle is called a "unity candle" and has its origins in the US.

The Coins – The wedding coins are called arras.  The custom of the groom giving wedding coins comes from Spain.  The groom gives the bride 13 coins to symbolize their mutual prosperity.  Traditionally, it was like a dowry and thus it also symbolizes his promise to support her and their family.

The Veil – After the couple has exchanged rings, they kneel side by side.  Then two chosen people will take one end of the bride’s veil and drape it over the groom’s shoulders.  It signifies that they are dressed for the world as one.

The Cord – Next, a white decorative silk cord called a yugal is placed over the couple’s shoulders in the sign of infinity (a sideways figure-eight).  It symbolizes everlasting fidelity and signifies that they walk the world as equals. 

It’s lovely to have symbolism as a part of any wedding ceremony.

Photo: Filipino Wedding Planning Class

This article was posted on Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 2:39 pm and is filed under Arras, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Filipino Wedding Coins, Candles, Veil and Cord, Holidays Around the World, Philippines, Symbols, USA, Weddings, Weddings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

15 Responses to “Filipino Wedding Traditions – Candles, Coins, Veil and Cord”

  1. Pastor Tom Burgos Says:

    Thank you so much for your work. Could you please change the photo credit that was credited to my class to -Pastor

  2. clarabelle Says:

    hello….after putting on allthose marriage symbols…when is the part that those will be removed ( the veil, cord ) ?

  3. Bess Says:

    Why is the veil placed differently on the male and female – shoulder vs head? What does that symbolize?

  4. Candy Says:

    Ephesians 5: 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.…

    We got married on 9/12/15 and we did the veil. It was great! It was very symbolic and now we just need to return to the meaning of it.

  5. Amie leftridge Says:

    After they put on the veil and the cords and also light the candle, when they will take off the veil and the cord and also blow out the candle?

  6. Elvie Says:

    Remove the cord and then veil before ceremony ends. The candle is only blown after the ceremony ends.

  7. Vie Says:

    Hi Mama Lisa, my name is Vie and am getting married next month. What does the chord look like and if I can’t make it myself, where can i buy one?

  8. Lisa Says:

    I saw some items on Amazon that might be used like a chord. Type in “Wedding Lasso Rope” and see if that works.

    There’s also a site called Filipino Wedding Ceremonies. They officiate Filipino weddings in California. I would contact them and see if they know where you can buy the chords.

    Otherwise, I found an old thread on the internet that mentions a couple of links for buying chords here.

    Someone mentioned they had their family in the Philippines send them the chords. If you know anyone there, perhaps that’s an option?

  9. jen Says:

    who must be the one lightning the candle, incharge for the veil and cord? anyone will do?

  10. Lisa Says:

    According to this site, “The Secondary Sponsors: These are women and men whom the couple chooses to involve in their ceremony because of their affinity or friendship with them. They are typically relatives or close friends.”

    There are sponsors for the cords, the veil, the candle and coins.

  11. Nelly Liu Says:

    Where can I buy the wedding veil used by bride & groom during the wedding rites?

  12. consuelo campbell Says:

    can you tell me if where I can buy the chord? I have tried amazon but they don’t have the chord.

  13. Lisa Says:

    Try Etsy. They seem to have a lot of wedding cords.

  14. Martha Says:

    On my wedding we assigned sponsors to be in charge of the veil, cord and arras. After the ceremony the same sponsors will also remove them prior to standing.

    Now my husband and I have been given the honor of veil sponsor so here I am scanning the internet for one.

  15. Liz Says:

    Are these traditions Catholic traditions or Filipino traditions that don’t necessarily have religious bearings?

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