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MeaningA Yakan Wedding
Dance CultureLowland Community
Place of OriginLamitan, Basilan
Ethnolinguistic GroupYakan
Background / Content

The Yakans of Basilan (Mindanao) marry amidst pomp and circumstance. 6 to 15 days are set aside to display religious and festive laden activities which involve many of bride and groom’s family.

Preparation for a Pagkawin or wedding starts month before but the more colorful and the most attended ones are 2 days before the Kawin or a wedding day and the day itself. Three days before the Kawin, the groom is carried by his friends on their shoulders to the bride’s house in a parade that includes music, panji and tipas-tipas banners, cooked food and utensils for a feast. He is richly dressed and the face is carefully decorated by tanyak-tanyak, delicate designs in white powder and soot. In the bride’s house, he finds that the bride has hidden in another house to give way to negotiations between bride and groom representatives as to the bride-price or dowry to be given by the groom. After the negotiation, the bride is fetched and carried in a covered palanquin. She is later covered in a ceremonial mosquito net in her sala (a living room). On the day before the wedding, in the bigger parade the groom is carried back once more to the bride’s house with sponsor-friend called unol shading him with an umbrella. There is an hour of dancing Tumanhik and singing the Sai-il and Lunsay at the front yard. Then another dowry is negotiated by council of Imam, or religious and civic personage. If everything comes out as expected, food is served and music is played. The Imam guides the groom to the mosquito net and presses his thumb on the forehead of the bride. They are wedded, and the groom goes back home to prepare for the big day. The final parade starts early. The groom is again carried by his friends with his unol by his side. Finally the bride is carried out from her mosquito net and made to sit at the left of the groom. In the ceremony of offering rice, boiled egg and a saputangan kerchief, the bride refuses several times. She finally accepts to be his bride by allowing his scarf to be put on her shoulders. They stand up and head for the groom’s house where they are live to for the first 3 days.

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