Peace Corps Philippines: The Debut

Your typical birthday party in the Philippines includes, lots of food, lots of guest, and lots of videoke. However the birthday party I recently attended was slightly different. There were lots of food and lots of guest but a special program replaced the videoke instead. This was the Debut celebration.


In the Philippines, many young girls dream of having their debut party on their 18th birthday because it is a commonly observed Philippines tradition to womanhood. It is a coming-of-age celebration since 18 is considered the age of maturity in the Philippines. Fiipina women regard their debut as one of the most important milestones of their lives. It is believed that not throwing a lavish party upon reaching the age of eighteen may create a void in a lady’s life. Tonight I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to this ceremonial occasion.




The 18 Roses

The 18 roses ceremony is considered a highlight of the debut program. 18 single red-roses are give to to the young lady to represent her readiness in area of romance, as was the original purpose of the debut. The first rose is usually given by the debutant’s father to symbolize something that is both beautiful and “thorny.” He is, then followed by the male members of the family as protection of the girl. The remaining men in the lineup are friends of the debutante with the last rose as the girls special someone.



The 18 Candles 

The 18 Candles ceremony transitions from the romantic aspect to the girls send off as an independent member of society. It involves the women who are important to the debutante. This includes advisors, influential family members, teachers, and trusted peers. These women give speeches and advice and state their well-wishes for the debutante. Each one of these women light a candle that symbolizes light; light that will guide the girl on her journey through life. Once all 18 candles have been lit, they are placed on the debutant’s birthday cake and blown out. 



– The Natural Travelista
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