Ifugao Beliefs on Wedding Animals

I just learned today when my cousin from the mountains of Pulaan, Lagawe visited us about one of the Ifugao beliefs regarding animals to be butchered for engagements or wedding celebrations. In Ifugao dialect, it is called "abig di niye way bonong" or "abig di niye way kasal".

Manung Tuggin looked at me and said, "I heard your baby was gone."

"Yes, it was... and it's about one month now since the incident.", I replied.

"It would have been a boy, was it?", he asked further.

"Yes."

He asked, "Did one of the pigs brought on your engagement die?"

I was surprised by his question but I replied, "No, they were alright."

Then I thought, "One of the pigs, the largest one, a mother pig, that was brought for the wedding party died while waiting for the time for them to be butchered. It died in the morning when it's supposed to be butchered in the evening."
"But I think it didn't actually die, because it was dying when they noticed it and was butchered right away and the meat was preserved for the night.", I reasoned.

"That's it then. That's what that means and that was unavoidable. If it was a girl, it would have been alright.", he said.

I was shocked! How could my father or my husband's father, or the older people in our place not know about this and did something or told my husband to go find another pig if that's that simple? I don't know what to say.

"That's also what happened to me, because that happened on my engagement.", he added. "My first child, a son, died when it came out. I was only told then by the wise old men and women after it happened.", he further added.

"Don't you worry, and tell your husband not to worry, your next child should be safe whether it's a boy or girl. That, the old people said, only refers to your first child.", he said finally.

*Belief With Regards To The Trip*
People carrying or bringing the animals to the bride's place must be very observant of their surroundings beginning from getting the animals (usually pigs) up to the arrival to the bride's home. Along the road if they notice two birds or any animal that were together at first then suddenly flew away in opposite directions, that means the couple will part ways no matter what happens. In some instances, the wise old people will discourage the couple to continue their relationship. Unless there is a reason for the couple to stay together, say the bride is pregnant, the old "mumbaki" may offer a chicken to try and prevent the imminent separation of the couple.

When along the road, one of the animals got tired and is dying, it has to be rushed to the bride's home and butchered first. In case the date for the engagement or wedding is not yet on that date, then they'll have to carry the animal very carefully so it won't die. In case it dies on the way or at the bride's place, whether it is the day of the wedding or not, that is a bad omen for the couple. Death of an animal for their union means their first child, if it turns out to be a boy, will die. Their first baby will survive if it is a girl.

To counter this, another pig, even a smaller one, preferably a native pig (the ones that look like wild pigs and are fed only with fruits and vegetables), has to be provided by the groom to change the "life gone". It will act as a replacement of the life of the dead pig.

Another cousin, a jeepney driver who was used to carrying animals for engagement and wedding parties added that he has witnessed several ocassions wherein a dead pig that was to be brought for an engagement or wedding was replaced immediately upon arrival at the bride's place. Mostly, he said, it was replaced with a small native pig before the butchering is started. The reason he heard from the old people is that it will replace the spirit of the dead animal so nothing terrible will become the couple once they begin their family journey.

I believe this must be shared to prevent further problems when it can be prevented.

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PinasLiving: Ifugao Beliefs on Wedding Animals
Ifugao Beliefs on Wedding Animals
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