For the Filipinos, anniversaries, particularly landmark anniversaries like the 10th, 25th and 50th anniversaries, are celebrated in style. Family is of utmost importance in the Philippines, and a wedding anniversary is one opportunity to get together and celebrate the couple's years of devotion as well as enjoy an evening with family and friends.
Landmark anniversaries are typically celebrated with a party. Like American anniversaries, Filipinos often rent a hall for the anniversary party and decorate it in a way that reflects the couple's preferences as well as their years together. Family and close friends are invited, and if the couple has the means, neighbors and others from the community will also come. The godparents or sponsors from the community typically help pay for the party as well as help donate and prepare food for the celebration.
Renewal of Vows
Couples often renew their vows before or as part of the party. The renewal of vows can be held in a church, and it may be as lavish as the original wedding. Family members dress as part of the wedding party and may even participate as witnesses, bridesmaids or groomsmen. A Catholic mass may accompany the renewal of vows as well. After the renewal, a photographer takes pictures of the couple and family to commemorate the event.
The food for a Filipino anniversary celebration is typically cooked by family rather than catered, partly out of a desire to preserve the tradition of family participation, and partly because in many areas it's hard to find a Filipino caterer. The food typically consists of rice, which is an essential element of any Filipino meal, as well as an array of seafood and meats, vegetables and soups. The food is arranged carefully on a table and served buffet or family-style. The display highlights the expense and effort the family put into the party, and it accentuates the pleasure of the meal.
Filipino couples are often given money or decorative gifts at anniversary parties. Unlike weddings, the emphasis is not on useful household gifts, since the couple presumably has acquired all of the household goods they need over their years of married life. Some couples, particularly at a silver anniversary, are given a rope of silver dollars, with each dollar representing the number of the years they have been married. Wine, flowers and food are also common gifts.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.