Child Betrothal

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Unique marriage traditions are still practiced in Pampanga. Child betrothal is one, but mostly in olden times. It is usually entered into between bosom friends.

Sixteen or seventeen years later, his pledge is redeemed with the marital union of the two children. They are told about the pledge only upon reaching marriageable age; they sometimes grow up together without knowing it. “Parental agreement” is sometimes the term applied to this pact. In the Chabacano tradition, however, a girl form the age of ten and upward already knows her life-partner since she is forewarned by her parents of the agreement.

This kind of marriage is made with or without consideration whatsoever. The only requisite for its materialization is for one child to be a boy and the other to be a girl.

A pact like this can be discontinued when one of the betrothed dies or when the parents who entered into such pact, for some reason, severe their ties of friendship. Also, if one of the parents die, the pact may not be enforced.

The Ilongo tradition with respect to child betrothal is a departure in that is done by offering a silver peso coin to a woman on the family way by the parents of a male infant. The former’s acceptance of it denotes a betrothal, perfected when she gives birth to a girl.

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Source:

Anima, N. 1975. Courtship and Marriage Practices among Philippine Tribes. La Loma: Omar.

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